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Flint Water Crisis: A Human Rights Failure

The US Human Rights Network’s National Human Rights To Water and Sanitation Coalition calls attention to the Flint water crisis as a human rights violation that disproportionately impacts people in marginalized communities. From the press release:

[A]ccess to safe, affordable, and clean water is an internationally recognized universal human right. Just this past October, members of our coalition testified at an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights hearing on the Human Right to Water in the Americas. In Flint and across the country, the water crisis in the U.S. is also a crisis of economic class and racially-based discrimination that disproportionately impacts poor people, communities of color, Indigenous Peoples, migrants, women, people with disabilities, elders, children, the chronically ill, and other groups that have historically faced discrimination. In our work, we have seen the U.S. allowing communities to live with contaminated drinking water for months, years, and even decades; engaging in mass water shut-offs for people living in poverty rather than making water affordable; failing to provide support for adequate water and sanitation infrastructure to meet basic human needs and protect human health; ignoring the disproportionate impact of inadequate water quality, access and affordability in communities of color; the criminalization of poverty and of those who defend their rights to water and sanitation; and removing children from the homes of poor families who are unable to afford the cost of residential water service.  Going forward, it is imperative that local, statewide, and federal water and sanitation policies ensure the human rights of everyone. –

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