Title
Water as a human right: water as an essential service: does it matter? Water as a human right: water as an essential service: does it matter?
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Law
Publication type
article
Publication
Utrecht ,
Subject
Law
Source (journal)
Netherlands quarterly of human rights. - Utrecht
Volume/pages
26(2008) :3 , p. 391-424
ISSN
0924-0519
ISI
000259534700004
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Two questions inform this article. First, the question is examined whether a human rights approach (water as a human right) and a commercial approach (water as an economic good and essential service) can be reconciled. A second, and related, question is whether it really matters which approach is taken. An answer to this question will be sought by analysing whether the same or similar guarantees are being offered, in particular in the context of liberalisation and/or privatisation of drinking water services and the disconnection from water services. Also, the environmental dimension will be scrutinised. After examining similarities and parallels in both approaches, and the level of protection offered, it is concluded that it does make a difference indeed whether water is considered as an essential service or as a human right. While both concepts act as a safeguard, human rights may prove to be the stronger one, at least as far as State actors are concerned.
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