UN experts raise concerns about Guadeloupe water crisis and censorship News
Jonathan SALAÜN, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
UN experts raise concerns about Guadeloupe water crisis and censorship

UN independent experts expressed concern about the ongoing water shortage in Guadeloupe, a French Caribbean island. They raised concerns over tap water pollution, steep prices and attempts to silence critics, calling the situation a threat to human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation.

After a last-minute ban was imposed on a planned debate about the water crisis in Guadeloupe, organized by Antilles University, UN experts voiced concerns about censorship of human rights advocates, whistleblowers and scientists speaking out about the water shortages’ possible solutions. They said, “Water is a fundamental issue, and everyone deserves access to a thorough understanding of how it works and to exercise the right to participate freely in shaping public decisions and policies.”

The experts accuse private operators, local authorities and the French government of neglecting the water infrastructure on the island for an extended period. They claimed this negligence resulted in an outdated network, pipes prone to leaks, treatment plants experiencing malfunctions and flawed billing software, among other issues.

While France continues to dispute concerns about pollution, the experts found more than 60% of water in Guadeloupe is lost through leaks before it reaches the taps, resulting in enormous waste. The experts said, “France must take responsibility by ensuring that the contamination does not continue to spread and putting in place compensation measures for the entire population affected.”

Contamination remains a pressing issue in Guadeloupe, where the banned pesticide chlordecone was used between 1973 and 1993, leaving a legacy of soil and water pollution. The island still grapples with cancer and other illnesses as a result of the pollution.