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The human right to water entitles everyone to basic water and sanitation, but over 2.6 billion people lack access to these essential services. Private sector participation has emerged as a potential model for improving these conditions, but its advancement has been followed with a concern that the private sector's profit-seeking focus does not encompass the social priorities embodied by the human right to water. The debate is also reflective of a concern relating to the increasing place of business in the international system. That transnational water companies lie outside the jurisdiction of the international human rights regime, but are in a direct position to impact the realization of rights, emphasizes the concern over advancing private sector participation as a model for water services. This thesis will assess two main questions. First, is private sector participation compatible with the human right to water? Second, can transnational water corporations be held accountable to human rights standards? Through the investigations of these questions, this research will determine whether private sector participation is capable of advancing the right to water. Moreover, the investigation of these questions will aid in an understanding of how the field of human rights is evolving to encompass contemporary developments in the field.
private sector participation, human right to water, corporate social responsibility, economic social and cultural rights, water services, water management, water privatization
Date of Defense
October 8, 2010.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of International Affairs in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Sumner B. Twiss, Professor Directing Thesis; Talbot D'Alemberte, Committee Member; Terry Coonan, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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