While nearly 70 percent of Puerto Rico remains without power six weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, eleven United Nations human rights experts have issued a joint statement decrying the \u0022absence of adequate emergency response\u0022 by the United States.\u0022We can\u0026#039;t fail to note the dissimilar urgency and priority given to the emergency response in Puerto Rico, compared to the U.S. states affected by hurricanes in recent months.\u0022—Leilani Farha, United Nations\u0022Thousands of people are displaced, with homes destroyed, and without any relief in sight,\u0022 the experts noted. \u0022More than 80 percent of the population, or close to 2.8 million people, continue to live without electricity. Few hospitals are functioning. There are allegations that the water available—for those who have access to it—may be contaminated.\u0022\u0022With winter approaching, we call for a speedy and well-resourced emergency response that prioritizes the most vulnerable and at risk—children, older people, people with disabilities, women, and homeless people,\u0022 they declared.In the wake of the storm, a spotlight has been shone on the commonwealth\u0026#039;s complex colonial history with the United States. Many, such as the ACLU\u0026#039;s Gabriela Meléndez Olivera, have argued that \u0022the American citizens living in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories\u0022 are regarded as \u0022second-class citizens,\u0022 and \u0022the Trump administration and Congress\u0026#039; lack of adequate action to provide aid to the island is a modern-day reflection of that second-class status.\u0022Considering the ongoing recovery efforts in Texas and—to a lesser degree—Florida, which were also hit by storms during this year\u0026#039;s hurricane season, the U.N.\u0026#039;s special rapporteur on the right to housing, Leilani Farha, said: \u0022We can\u0026#039;t fail to note the dissimilar urgency and priority given to the emergency response in Puerto Rico, compared to the U.S. states affected by hurricanes in recent months.\u0022Farha emphasized that \u0022it\u0026#039;s the obligation of all levels of government to act to protect\u0022 the 3.4 million U.S. citizens who reside in Puerto Rico, who \u0022need safe and adequate homes—temporary and long-term—with electricity, clean drinking water and sanitation facilities.\u0022Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, the U.N.\u0026#039;s independent expert on foreign debt and human rights, noted that \u0022even before Hurricane Maria struck, Puerto Rico\u0026#039;s human rights were already being massively undermined by the economic and financial crisis and austerity policies, affecting the rights to health, food, education, housing, water, and social security.\u0022The U.N. experts added their collective voice to mounting demands for debt relief for the U.S. commonwealth—which filed for bankruptcy in May—and said, \u0022we call on the United States and Puerto Rican authorities to remove regulatory and financial barriers to reconstruction and recovery.\u0022\u0022All reconstruction efforts should be guided by international human rights standards, ensuring that people can rebuild where they have lived and close to their communities,\u0022 they said. \u0022Reconstruction should aim to increase the resilience of Puerto Rico\u0026#039;s infrastructure, housing, and hospitals against future natural disasters.\u0022The demands of the U.N. experts bolster existing calls for a \u0022just recovery,\u0022 one that incorporate an awareness of threats posed by future storms and climate change—such as by utilizing solar energy technology rather than a fossil fuel-reliant system—and echo warnings against \u0022disaster capitalism\u0022 and privatization that have escalated amid outrage that led to the cancellation of an \u0022astonishingly corrupt\u0022 $300 million no-bid contract given to Whitefish Energy to rebuild the island\u0026#039;s destroyed electrical grid.