Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

The international law and politics of water access: experiences of displacement, statelessness, and armed conflict

Krakow, Carly A. (2020) The international law and politics of water access: experiences of displacement, statelessness, and armed conflict. Water (Switzerland), 12 (2). ISSN 2073-4441

[img] Text (water-12-00340-v2) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (388kB)
Identification Number: 10.3390/w12020340


This article analyses international law regarding the human right to water as it impacts people who are stateless, displaced, and/or residents of armed conflict zones in the contemporary Middle East. Deficiencies in international law, including humanitarian, water, human rights, and criminal law, are examined to demonstrate international law's strengths and weaknesses for functioning as a guarantor of essential rights for vulnerable groups already facing challenges resulting from ambiguous legal statuses. What are the political factors causing lack of water access, and what international legal protections exist to protect vulnerable groups when affected by water denial? The analysis is framed by Hannah Arendt's assertion that loss of citizenship in a sovereign state leaves people lacking "the right to have rights", as human rights are inextricably connected to civil rights. This article demonstrates that stateless/displaced persons and armed conflict zone residents are disproportionately impacted by lack of water, yet uniquely vulnerable under international law. This paper offers unprecedented analysis of international criminal law's role in grappling with water access restrictions. I challenge existing "water wars" arguments, instead proposing remedies for international law's struggle to guarantee the human right to water for refugees/internally displaced persons (IDPs). Examples include Israel/Palestine, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. A key original contribution is the application of Arendt's theory of the totalising impacts of human rights violations to cases of water access denial, arguing that these scenarios are examples of environmental injustice that restrict vulnerable persons' abilities to access their human rights.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author(s).
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law
J Political Science
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2022 12:24
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2024 21:51

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics