Edited by Stephen C. McCaffrey, Christina Leb and Riley T. Denoon
Chapter 14: The human right to water
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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