Human Rights

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Is There a Human Right to Land?

For people around the world, land is a source of food, shelter, and livelihoods. Given their importance, land rights are surely human rights—right?

Left: EPS Faculty/Earth Institute Research Scientist Joshua Fisher and Professor Sarah Knuckey from the Columbia Law School work with a translator to explain the results of an independent environmental assessment during a community consultation in December 2015.

Uncovering Impacts of Gold Mining in Papua New Guinea

From late December 2015 through January, a team of Earth Institute scientists and human rights lawyers from Columbia University worked in the highlands of Papua New Guinea to deliver the results of an independent study of water quality and human rights to the indigenous communities living near an industrial gold mine.

by |February 5, 2016
Neighborhood activists gathered in Central Jakarta to call for clean and accessible water on World Water Day 2011

A Human Right to Water – Can it Make a Difference?

Despite the UN’s 2010 resolution on the human right to water, debate continues over how useful a rights approach really is. Even if we identify water as a human right, where the state is the principal duty-bearer, will it improve access to water for communities in need?

by |July 27, 2011
Photo: Six Cents Press

A Right, a Need, or an Economic Good? Debating our Relationship to Water

Debates about the human right to water, and the role of the state or private companies in ensuring access, illustrate that water provision is anything but apolitical.

by |June 6, 2011

The Economist: Special Report on Water, a primer for the water crisis

The Economist has released a Special Report on Water, dated May 22nd, 2010, written by John Grimond. The 18 page report contains 9 short but substantial articles giving an overview of global water issues.

by |May 21, 2010

The Water Conflict in Ecuador

Over the last year, the government has been working on passing a new water bill, the Hydraulic Resources Law, which would, as I understand it, allow the concessions to stand, codify privatization of water rights and centralize decision-making at the state level, possibly further excluding traditional local water-management structures from the process. In the last weeks an estimated 10,000 protesters have descended on the capitol city of Quito, trying to stop the bill as it comes before the national assembly.

by |May 14, 2010

Water Human Rights: Pollution

In my previous blogs, I have been discussing different ways in which the human right to clean water is violated. I have already discussed how economic scarcity occurs, and this week I will be discussing pollution of water. Pollution issues are largely leading to contamination of the water supplies around the world.  There are countless… read more

by |December 3, 2009

Water Human Rights: Physical Scarcity

In my previous blogs, I defended water as a human right and began the discussion of ways in which the human right to clean water is violated. I have already discussed how economic scarcity occurs, and this week I will be discussing physical scarcity of water. Physical scarcity is the issue that the water just… read more

by |November 10, 2009

Water Human Rights: Economic Scarcity

In my earlier blog, I began arguing that water is a human right, and that the extreme lack of potable water is a significant human rights violation.  The scale of the human rights violation of the right to drinking water is on an extremely large scale. The largest occurrence of this right being violated is… read more

by |October 29, 2009

Water – a Human Right?

In the world, over one billion people live without access to clean water resources. These people have extremely large death rates to completely preventable, waterborne illnesses. It is estimated that over two million people die every year from preventable waterborne diseases, and a large percentage of those people are children under the age of five…. read more

by |October 22, 2009