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Inga T. Winkler

Socio-economic rights have gone through a process of normalisation and are now part of the more global human rights conversation. Future research on socio-economic rights should focus on the implementation of socio-economic rights; strengthening the indivisibility of civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights; bridging the discussions on economic inequalities and socio-economic rights; taking a critical look at the role of non-State actors; and addressing socio-economic rights in the Global North.

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Inga T. Winkler

While water has been the subject of international agreements for millennia, it has only been considered through the lens of human rights more recently. The human right to water has gained increasing recognition over the last 15 years. It was recognized by the UN General Assembly and is guaranteed as an implicit component of the right to an adequate standard of living. The UN General Assembly explains that the right to water ‘entitles everyone, without discrimination, to have access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use’. The chapter also discusses other relevant human rights, including the human rights to sanitation, food and work. The human rights principles of non-discrimination, participation and accountability guide the allocation of water between different uses. As such, the human rights framework influences the interpretation of international water law by prioritizing basic human needs.

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Hà Lê Phan and Inga T. Winkler

Water security and disasters are mutually linked. On the one hand, too much water (floods) and too little water (droughts) may constitute disasters. On the other hand, access to water is often a significant challenge during responses to disasters, notwithstanding if they are related to water. Water security plays a pivotal role in all stages of a disaster, from prevention and mitigation through disaster response to recovery and reconstruction. In disaster settings, water security is governed by a complex interplay of different branches of international law. These include international humanitarian law, international criminal law, international environmental and water law, climate change law, international refugee law and human rights law. The chapter seeks to discuss whether these regimes comprehensively govern and achieve water security in times of disasters; whether they have evolved into a body of international disaster law; and whether protection gaps remain and how these could be addressed.

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Inga T Winkler and Matheus de Carvalho Hernandez

The Sustainable Development Goals and social rights have become intertwined in seeking to address poverty, diseases, inequalities and illiteracy. The SDGs have captured the attention of many actors, and their goal and target setting is a powerful development tool. Goals are persuasive, tangible and easy to communicate. By incorporating human rights elements, the realization of human rights may benefit from these dynamics. However, many targets fail to capture human rights guarantees comprehensively, in particular with regard to structural factors. The commitment to ‘leaving no one behind’ and reducing inequalities is central to the SDGs, yet we find significant shortcomings in the targets and measures used for implementing and monitoring these commitments. Another central gap of the SDGs relates to accountability, which is vague, voluntary and piecemeal. We conclude that the SDGs have significant potential to promote social rights, but it can only come to fruition if accountability mechanisms are strengthened.