UN: Detroit violating human rights by turning off residents' taps | World news | theguardian.com
UN rights experts on Wednesday slammed struggling US city Detroit forviolating the basic human rights of its citizens by disconnecting thousands of people from water services over unpaid bills.
Cash-strapped Detroit, which last July became the largest US city to ever file for bankruptcy protection, has recently begun disconnecting water services on a large scale, for all households that have not paid bills for two months, the three experts said in a statement.
The birthplace of the US auto industry has accelerated the process since early June, with around 3,000 customers cut off each week, and some 30,000 households expected to be disconnected from water services over the next few months, they said.
"Disconnection of water services because of failure to pay due to lack of means constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights," they insisted."The households which suffered unjustified disconnections must be immediately reconnected," they said.
While disconnecting people who are able to pay but choose not to can be justified, the experts stressed that in a city like Detroit, with its sky-high poverty and unemployment rate, the relatively expensive cost ofwater is simply unaffordable for a significant portion of the population.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.