Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
Detroit, Mich.—Just days after representatives from the United Nations announced plans to conduct a fact-finding mission into the Detroit water shut-offs, Michigan Bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes decided not to bring relief to the thousands of residents still struggling to access this vital resource. Judge Rhodes announced yesterday that he would not issue a temporary order to pause the shutoffs.
“The resolution from the United Nations Human Rights Council that water is a human right ostensibly means that the United States government is bound to ‘respect, protect and fulfill’ this right. By not ending the shutoffs, Judge Rhodes and other leaders are violating the human right to water of Detroit residents.
“The shutoffs in Detroit continue to be a major crisis. When nearly half the city struggles to pay its water bills, it’s clear that this is not just a problem with delinquent payment. It’s indicative of broader, systemic issues resulting from decades of policies that put profits before people.
“We all know that water service delivery has a price, but nobody should be expected to pay it with their dignity. We urge local leaders, including Judge Rhodes, to immediately restore water service to Detroit residents and implement the 2005 water affordability plan so that all Detroiters can have access to safe, clean, affordable water.”
Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, (202) 683-4905; kfried(at)fwwatch.org.