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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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The Human Right to Water: Significance, Legal Status and Implications for Water Allocation

ISBN13: 9781849462839
Published: June 2012
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardcover
Price: £58.00
Paperback edition , ISBN13 9781849466622

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The United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council recognised the human right to water in 2010. This formal recognition has put the issue high on the international agenda, but by itself leaves many questions unanswered.

This book addresses this gap and clarifies the legal status and meaning of the right to water through a detailed analysis of its legal foundations, legal nature, normative content and corresponding State obligations.

The human right to water has wide-ranging implications for the distribution of water. Examining these implications requires putting the right to water into the broader context of different water uses and analysing the linkages and competition with other human rights that depend on water for their realisation.

Water allocation is a highly political issue reflecting societal power relations, with current priorities often benefitting the well-off and powerful. Human rights, in contrast, require prioritising the most basic needs of all people.

The human right to water has the potential to address these underlying structural causes of the lack of access to water rooted in inequalities and poverty by empowering people to hold the State accountable to live up to its human rights obligations and to demand that their basic needs are met with priority.

Human Rights and Civil Liberties, Public International Law
1. Introduction
I. Lack of Access to Water
II. The Question of Prioritisation
III. The Emergence of the Human Right to Water
IV. Scope and Outline of the Book

2. Background: Water Availability and Competing Demands
I. Water Availability and Quality
II. Competing Water Demands - A Challenge for Allocation
III. Conclusion: A Question of Prioritisation

3. Legal Foundations of the Human Right to Water
I. Human Rights Treaties
II. Customary International Law
III. General Principles
IV. Conclusion

4. Legal Characteristics of the Human Right to Water
I. Legal Nature of the Right to Water
II. Obligations Arising from the Right to Water
III. Normative Content of the Right to Water
IV. Conclusion

5. Human Rights Implications for Water Allocation
I. Introductory Remarks
II. Framework for Prioritisation
III. Different Water Uses and Their Link to Human Rights
IV. Conclusion: Priorities in Water Allocation

6. Benefits of Understanding Water as a Human Right
I. General Benefits of the Human Rights Framework
II. Possibility of Judicial Enforcement
III. Conclusion

7. Conclusion and Outlook
United Nations Documents
Conference Reports
General Assembly
Economic and Social Council Commission on Human Rights
Human Rights Council
Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Human Rights Committee
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Committee on the Rights of the Child
Other Bodies
Miscellaneous Documents