Shiney Varghese

How NAFTA Is Making Our Food and Water Much Less Healthy

As the sixth round of the negotiations on North American Free Trade Agreement begin next week in Montreal, Canada, the controversy over exactly what a new agreement might involve—if there is one at all—continues to generate debate.

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How Michigan Laws Led to the Flint Water Crisis by Subverting Democracy

The tragic situation in Flint is in many ways a cautionary tale of democracy subverted, one that ties directly to the United States’ refusal to recognize basic human rights such as the right to water. These rights are enshrined in international law, including in the 2010 United Nations General Assembly declaration that all nations have a duty to ensure safe drinking water and sanitation.

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Why Is the US Getting in the Way of International Efforts to Make Clean Water a Basic Human Right?

On 21 November 2013 the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee (The Committee) adopted a resolution on “The human right to safe drinking water and sanitation.” There, all UN member states agreed that the rights to water and sanitation are derived from the right to an adequate standard of living. As a result, these rights are now implicitly recognised as being part of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

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Corporate Land Grabs Reveal a Hidden Agenda: Controlling the Water

Writing in National Geographic in December 2012 about “small-scale irrigation techniques with simple buckets, affordable pumps, drip lines, and other equipment” that “are enabling farm families to weather dry seasons, raise yields, diversify their crops, and lift themselves out of poverty” water expert Sandra Postel of the Global Water Policy Project cautioned against reckless land and water-related investments in Africa. “[U]nless African governments and foreign interests lend support to these farmer-driven initiatives, rather than undermine them through land and water deals that benefit large-scale, commercial schemes, the best opportunity in decades for societal advancement in the region will be squandered.”

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The Surprising Effect of Agriculture on Rising Sea Levels

Deep tube-well irrigation can result in hand-dug wells (pictured above) going dry. This can affect access to drinking water, as hand-dug wells and hand pumps are often the primary source for drinking water in many communities.

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Why the Right to Water Is Under Attack

Last week, even as the world celebrated World Water Day, some countries at the United Nations were trying to remove the reference to the “right to water” from a document that will guide the international development path in the coming decade.  

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What Does the Right to Water Entail?

This week, the U.N. Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque, will visit the United States, giving us an opportunity to pause and reflect: What does right to water entail?

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