Saltillo Migrant Shelter in Mexico still without water following disconnection of service by P3

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Peace Brigades International-Mexico has expressed its concern about water being disconnected to the Saltillo Migrant Shelter as well as slanderous comments that have been made against the organization.

PBI-Mexico has stated this is a violation of the rights to water and sanitation, expressed its trust in the shelter, and has shared a post by Onudh Mexico recalling UN Special Rapporteur Leo Heller’s comment that, “The disconnection of the service for economic disability is a regressive measure and a violation of the human right to water and sanitation.”

Water to the Saltillo Migrant Shelter was shutoff on December 28 by the public-private partnership (P3) water utility Aguas de Saltillo (Agsal).

On January 4, Zocalo reported, “In the absence of the potable water service in the Casa del Migrante, due to the debt with the Agsal company, Father Pedro Pantoja Arreola said that they received the donation of bottled water to cover some health-related needs…”

Father Pantoja has stated that the United Nations-recognized human right to water says a vulnerable and marginalized group – like migrants – and an organization that serves those migrants should not have its water disconnected over its inability to pay.

He has also commented, “The lack of payment capacity should not limit a human right, we demand that this situation ceases to be personalized and a social and governmental debate is opened so that the right to access water is guaranteed, regardless of the economic capabilities of people who need it.”

Vanguardia has reported, “Among the [slanderous] comments that have been disseminated is that there has been a lack of transparency in the resources of the shelter.”

And as noted in this tweet, “Members of the network of houses and human rights centers for migrants reject acts of defamation against the Casa del Migrante de Saltillo and its director Alberto Xicotencatl.”

El Diario reports, “Lawyer Alberto Valdés Cepeda has explained that [Agsal] has the obligation to seek the collection of the service to its clients by legal means, but without having the service suspended, since Article 4 of the Mexican Constitution warns that no person can be left without this right, which must be sought by the State, and where appropriate, by the service concession companies, which applies in this case to Aguas de Saltillo.”

In 2001, 49 per cent of the Saltillo water system was sold to the Spanish transnational Aguas de Barcelona (Agbar). As noted here, “Since the creation of Aguas de Saltillo, local citizen groups have mobilized against what rapidly became another example of political condescension and international impunity.”

The Saltillo Migrant Shelter offers daily humanitarian assistance – including clothes, medicines, food, rest, and medical and psychological care – to thousands of migrants crossing Mexico to reach the United States. In 2019, it provided assistance to 9,000 migrants.

PBI-Canada will be hosting a representative of the Saltillo Migrant Shelter on speaking tour in Ontario and Quebec this coming March. More on that soon.

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