An appeals court in San Martín, in the province of Buenos Aires, has ordered that basic urban services be provided to the Garrote neighborhood in the municipality of Tigre. This ruling ratifies the precautionary measure granted by a lower court and orders the municipality and the province of Buenos Aires to immediately provide drinking water, trash collection, cleaning services for cesspits and sewage drains.
Garrote is a 40-year-old settlement where 800 families live in extremely precarious conditions that could be further aggravated by the construction of Venice, a mega-complex that real estate developer TGLT S.A. is carrying out. CELS represents Garrote residents in their demand for the neighborhood’s socio-urban integration and for access to public information on the real estate venture’s environmental impact studies.
In June 2016, a court in San Isidro (also in Buenos Aires province) ordered that the municipality of Tigre and the province adopt measures to guarantee the effective provision of basic services. The municipal and provincial governments appealed. Now, the appeals chamber considered that the situation of habitability of the neighborhood involves “the most elemental human rights – to life, health and dignity” and that in this context “the improvements and sanitary measures ordered reflect the need to tend, without delay, to the protection of the right to health of the plaintiffs and the neighborhood’s other inhabitants.”
This case was initiated for incompliance with the Fair Access to Habitat Law, which recognizes principles and creates instruments for urban management to enforce the right to a decent habitat. The ruling marks significant progress because it considers that the housing shortcomings related to the lack of basic urban services constitute a human rights violation and that in light of this situation, the municipality of Tigre and the province of Buenos Aires are obligated to adopt urgent measures to respond to the neighborhood’s historical demands.