Sewage on streets 'a rights abuse'
Manama, January 29, 2014
Human rights activists in Bahrain have waded into an ongoing row over sewage flooding in residential neighbourhoods.
They are threatening to take to the streets in protest and say overflowing human waste is an infringement of people's right to a clean environment, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Plans have been in place since 2007 to remove old septic tanks and install a new sewage system in the older parts of Riffa.
Work began in 2008 and was supposed to be completed by 2010, but to date only 48 per cent of the project has allegedly been completed.
Residents claim rainfall over the past month has resulted in large pools of sewage accumulating at people's doorsteps in Blocks 901 and 909.
"People always think that human rights are limited to torture cases and war, but it is an internationally accepted fact that everyone has the right to live in clean, safe areas," Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society secretary-general Faisal Fulad told a press conference yesterday.
"These people have been living among sewage for years.
"Their children cannot play outside as it is dangerous in such close proximity to the overflowing sewage in the area - and it was supposed to be fixed by 2010.
"We will be launching a campaign along with residents, schools and youth of the affected area of Riffa called 'Clean Riffa'.
"As part of our campaign, which begins with this press conference, we will get the word out that this will not be accepted. If that fails then we will protest and take to the streets.
"If that also fails then, as a last resort, we will ask international human rights organisations to step in and help us."
He said his organisation was giving authorities one month to respond before organising a demonstration.
Fulad also demanded an apology to the people of Riffa and a promise that the problem would be solved.
Meanwhile, Southern Municipal Councillor Mohammad Al Balouchi said the issue had been compounded by an influx of new residents to the area as a result of unrest since 2011.
Karama Human Rights Society chairman Ahmed Al Malki asked what had happened to money that was earmarked for the project.
"The budget is assigned for these kinds of projects every two years and in 2008, BD4 million ($10.5 million) was assigned for the sewage network," he said.
"Only 48 per cent has been complete, so where is the rest of the money?" - TradeArabia News Service