Thursday, June 26, 2014

UN panel calls Detroit water disconnection 'violation of international human rights'

Khalili AlHajal in ML Live: A group of three experts who report to the United Nations on Wednesday called the disconnection of water at Detroit homes where residents can't pay their bills a violation of international human rights.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a news release criticizing water cut-offs that started taking place when the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department adopted a more aggressive approach to collecting debt in March.

“Disconnections due to non-payment are only permissible if it can be shown that the resident is able to pay but is not paying," said Catarina de Albuquerque, who is the U.N.'s special rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation.

"In other words, when there is genuine inability to pay, human rights simply forbids disconnections."

A water department spokesman said this week a $800,000 program to help low-income Detroiters pay their bills will be implemented in July....

Greektown in Detroit, shot by DeltaWeb, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons 3.0 license

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