Right to Water: Debating the Human Rights Perspective
Abhishek Tripathy & Prajna R. Mohapatra
Volume 2 Issue 2 (2009)
Water is the elixir of life – it is as fundamental as the air we breathe or the food we eat. In light of the role that it plays in sustaining life and the daily needs of people around the world, right to water manifests itself in the form of a basic human right. Right to water exists in close association with other related aspects like sanitation and basic cleanliness of the community. Without ensuring the latter, the former will hardly have any concrete consequence. Despite many efforts at the international level to focus on the need to recognize and label the right to water as a fundamental human right, nothing concrete has been achieved till date. The repercussions of a post-WTO and GATS world economy, which talks of trade in services amongst nations, adds another critical dimension to the entire discussion on the right to water as a fundamental human right. This warrants a debate into the merits and the justification of viewing the services accruing from water as being a tradable commodity juxtaposed against the other extreme of it being a basic human right. The right to clean drinking water emerges, in this context, as the focal point of discussion, which has been examined from various legal and social angles in this paper.