Law Center’s Advocacy Creates International Pressure
February 06, 2012: In an unprecedented letter to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, the United Nations has delivered a clear message: by not providing sanitation and safe drinking water, the city is violating the human rights of homeless persons.
The letter, sent by UN Special Rapporteur Catarina de Albuquerque, cites targeted closings of public restrooms, decommissioning of water fountains, and a lack of other clean water sources as blatant violations.
Albuquerque visited Sacramento in February 2011, as part of a fact-finding mission organized by the Law Center and Sacramento-based Safe Ground and Legal Services of Northern California. She heard direct testimony from homeless campers, who are forced to rely on makeshift privy systems to deal with privacy and human waste issues.
“The UN has delivered a powerful message: the U.S. doesn’t get a free pass on its human rights violations. Sacramento must take immediate steps to address the needs of its homeless population, ” said Eric Tars, human rights program director at the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (the Law Center). “Access to water and sanitary facilities is one of the most fundamental of human rights — essential to everyone’s health, dignity, and continued life. ”
To read the full press release, click here.
To read the full letter to Mayor Johnson, click here.
To read the UN’s report, click here.