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The Human Right to Water and Its Application in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Amanda Jane Cahill
Publication date2007
Number of pages408
Awarding Institution
Place of PublicationLancaster
  • Lancaster University
Electronic ISBNs9780438571938
<mark>Original language</mark>English


A human right to water has been determined at the international level. However, the legal status of this right and its normative content are unclear. This thesis discusses the development of the concept of a legal human right to water and examines its present codification under international human rights law, in particular under the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights General Comment 15. Subsequently the scope and core content of the right are analysed, highlighting the limitations in provision and identifying other problematic elements. Furthermore, the correlative obligations concerning the right to water are discussed within the wider context of legal obligations and economic, social and cultural rights and strengths and weaknesses considered. The second part of the thesis applies the legal basis for a human right to water to a particular context to better understand the implications of the ambiguous legal status of the right. The case study used is the Palestinians' right to water in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Therefore, due to the ongoing occupation, in addition to investigation of applicable human rights law, the relevant international humanitarian law providing for a right to water is also examined. In addition, provisions for a right to water in applicable domestic and bilateral law are evaluated. Subsequently, the enjoyment of the right to water 'on the ground' is investigated through a small-scale qualitative research project based in the southern West Bank. Using a violations approach and focusing on core obligations, interview material was gathered. The findings illustrate that there are violations of the right to water under both human rights law and humanitarian law. Finally in conclusion the thesis addresses what can be done to improve the enjoyment of the right both specifically in relation to the case study and more broadly. There are several mechanisms by which the right to water could be strengthened in terms of implementation through improving existing codification and through more effective remedies at both international and domestic levels.

Bibliographic note

Thesis (Ph.D.)--Lancaster University (United Kingdom), 2007.