Sunday, December 12, 2010

The human right to water in Indonesia


Colleague Mova Al Afghani has recently uploaded on SSRN a paper on «The Potential Role of the Human Right to Water in the Management of Indonesia’s Water Resources». The paper argues that:

«there are gaps in the Indonesian legal framework in securing transparency, access to information, participation, access to justice and the procedure in recognizing customary rights in water resources management. Without adequate access to these procedural rights, vulnerable, marginalized and financially weaker groups will be left out from water resources management and will not be able to secure their entitlements. The Human Right to Water has potentials for filling such gap by reforming the implementing regulation of the Water Resources Law and enhancing the possibility to obtain legal recourse.»

A very interesting read, notably for the scope of the legal provisions considered in the analysis, as it provides an integrated legal perspective on the challenges and problems at ground level related to water for domestic consumption. Also interesting is section 5 on the role of the human right to water, and particularly subsection 5.b on the human right to water vs. cultural and customary rights, as well as subsection 5.f on the transposition of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Indonesia.

One question that might be discussed a bit more is related to the interaction between the human right to water and other human rights. Reading the paper, it sometimes feels like the human right to water is constituted of a bundle of ‘substantive’ and ‘procedural’ rights (ex: see p.4 last §, as well as subsection 5.b on Right(s) to participation, transparency and access to information). Are these rights constituent human rights included under a human right to water? Are they considered as autonomous human rights? Is this an illustration of the doctrine of indivisible, inter-related and inter-dependent human rights?

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