Human Right to Water: Contemporary Challenges and Contours of a Global Debate


Mirosa, Oriol, and Leila M. Harris. 2012. “Human Right to Water: Contemporary Challenges and Contours of a Global Debate.” Antipode 44 (3): 932–49. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8330.2011.00929.x.

Authors: Oriol Mirosa, Leila M. Harris


In recent years, significant debate has taken place around the concept of the “human right to water”. In this paper, we seek to respond to recent critiques and clarify the terms of the debate by presenting an in-depth exploration of the human right to water. We explore several critiques of the concept, situate it in the context of the current neoliberalization of water provision and in relation to contemporary water challenges, and present some examples of how it has been deployed to further the cause of access to water for vulnerable populations in varied contexts. We conclude that, rather than abandoning the concept as critics have suggested, the human right to water maintains importance as a discourse and strategy in the contemporary moment.

Keywords: human rights, water, social movements, privatization

Topics: Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Rights, Human Rights

Year: 2012

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