Friday, June 10, 2011

Dignity and access to water for Negev Bedouins


In this article (forthcoming in the Natural Resources Journal) where the operationalisation of human rights to water is discussed, I was raising the question: «Can a person decide to reside in the middle of a desert and then claim water resources from the state on the basis of human rights?», the answer being that such situations must be carefully identified and delineated ex post at the local level by considering the particular facts at hand.

Interestingly in that context, Tomer Zarchin from Haaretz reports that the Supreme Court of Israel recognised some level of access to water for arab bedouins in the Negev desert based on the constitutional right to dignity. Richard Lightbrown provides additional background to the news whereby the hegemonic effect of formal positive legal order tied to state power over informal indigenous arrangements becomes apparent (this effect is also mentioned in section 4.1 of my article, in particular p.43).

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