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Article
SOME CRITICAL THINKING ABOUT A HUMAN RIGHT TO WATER
ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law (2012)
  • Douglas L Donoho
Abstract

Last year student members of the Inter-American Center for Human Rights organized a symposium focused on the incipient "international right to water." When asked if I thought this would be a good topic I replied, and not without some enthusiasm, "not really." I wasn't being hard-hearted or disinterested; the importance of water and its role in basic human dignity is manifest. Rather, I was expressing a sense of cynical skepticism about the prospects of meaningfully addressing the problem of clean water and sanitation by creating another empty international promise dressed up as an individual right. This skepticism was grounded in misgivings about the legal and practical implications of creating an individual right to water on the international level,' and on doubts about its potential for affecting meaningful change. Thankfully, the students ignored me. The symposium was a timely and terrific two-day event full of insight and information. My skepticism about creating a meaningful international individual human right to water, although tempered, remains. The reasons for this skepticism and some critical thinking about the prospects for a right to water are set out in this essay.

 

Keywords
  • human rights,
  • critical thinking,
  • Inter-American Center
Publication Date
2012
Citation Information
Douglas L Donoho. "SOME CRITICAL THINKING ABOUT A HUMAN RIGHT TO WATER" ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law Vol. 19 Iss. 1 (2012) p. 91 - 115
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/douglas_donoho/3/