Human Rights Defenders Appeal To UN After Water Cut-Off In Minsk Neighbourhood

The Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC) has appealed to the UN in connection with recent water cut-off in Novaya Borovaya neighbourhood in Minsk. Head of the human rights organization Oleg Hulak told Radio Svaboda.

According to international standards, access to clean drinking water and sanitation is an essential living condition and an inalienable human right.

“This is a violation of fundamental human rights, and this occurs in response to the people’s poiting living there, in order to force them to retract their words and deprive them of freedom of expression. These are illegal methods. This is a new word in repression, authorities use social and living conditions to put pressure [on the residents – Ed.], which endangers both people’s health and the sanitary and epidemiological situation. People are deprived of the basic necessities of life, access to clean water. This is an abuse, and the state fails to take measures to stop it,” said Oleg Gulak.

Recall that there has been no water in Novaya Borovaya neighbourhood since Sunday. On Monday Minskvodokanal said that someone might have damaged the valve in the water supply system. The next day the water utility company reported that the problem was solved, but the water supply to the residential area would be restored in full only after receiving positive results of laboratory testing of water quality.

Novaya Borovaya residents believe that water cut-off and a protracted solution to the problem may be associated with their active civil engagement and numerous white-red-white flags hanging in their yards. They describe the situation as mockery and revenge. Not without a reason. The same day when water disappeared, portable toilets painted in the colours of the national flag were brought to the rebellious neighbourhood.