Right to Water
Professor Martha Davis leads PHRGE’s efforts to protect and promote the right to water.
Disconnected: How Household Water Shutoffs in the United States During the COVID Pandemic Violate the Human Right to Water
To mark Human Rights Day on Wednesday, December 10, 2020, the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy released a new publication, “Disconnected: How Household Water Shutoffs in the United States During the COVID Pandemic Violate the Human Right to Water.” Linnea Brandt ’22 is the lead author of the report. Additional comments and feedback were provided by Martha F. Davis, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Northeastern University; Sharon L. Harlan, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Sciences; Laura Senier, Associate Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences; and Roger Colton, J.D., of Fisher, Sheehan, and Colton.
This is PHRGE’s fifth publication in a series on the human right to water. The other publications are: (1) The Human Right to Water: A Research Guide and Annotated Bibliography; (2) The Human Right to Water: Using Freedom of Information Laws to Understand Rising Water Rates; (3) The Human Right to Water: A Primer for Lawyers and Community Leaders; and (4) A Drop in the Bucket: Water Affordability Policies in Twelve Massachusetts Communities.
Championing Water Rights as Human Rights
In conjunction with her participation in Professor Martha Davis’ Human Rights in the United States seminar, Roshni Patel ’20 is the lead author of a new chapter on the water and human rights, supplementing the 2014 edition of Human Rights in the US: A Handbook for Legal Aid Attorneys. The chapter reflects an ongoing collaboration between the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE), co-directed by Davis, and Maryland Legal Aid (MLA). Frank Vitale ’14, senior attorney for human rights at MLA, worked closely with Patel as she developed the chapter and expects to put it to use in MLA’s practice.
As part of a research team at Northeastern University that is studying water unaffordability and its impacts in 12 Massachusetts communities including Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, Springfield, Somerville, Quincy and Worcester, Professor Martha Davis was lead author on PHRGE's fourth publication in a series on the human right to water.
(Released July 2019)
In the News
- February 2, 2021: “Professor Martha Davis and Four Northeastern Law Students Contribute to Mass. SAC Report on Water Affordability,” Northeastern Law News Announcement.
- April 5, 2020: Professor Martha Davis, “Water is a ‘Fundamental Human Right’,” Northeastern News.
- August 14, 2019: Professor Martha Davis, “Could The Rising Cost Of Water Leave Some Mass. Residents Struggling To Pay The Bill?,” WBUR Radio Boston.
- July 24, 2019: Professor Martha Davis, “Water Is More Expensive Than Ever. Massachusetts Should Do More To Help Residents,” WBUR's Cognoscenti.
"Tahoe on Trial: Guatemalan Communities Defend Land and Life"
On October 26th, Llan Carlos Davila, a community leader from Santa Rosa de Lima in Guatemala spoke about efforts to peacefully halt the development of Tahoe Resources’ Escobal silver mine through popular education, grassroots base building and the organization of six municipal referenda during which more than 50,000 people have voted against mining in their territories. Llan Carlos also detailed the ongoing threats he and other leaders face due to their efforts to defend the results of the referenda and halt Tahoe’s expansion in the region. This event is part of a speaking tour organized by the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA). For more information, see http://tahoeontrial.net.
"Tapping into the Right to Water: Accessibility, Affordability, and Quality"
On November 5-6, 2015, the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) hosted its 10th annual Human Rights Institute at Northeastern University School of Law. This year, PHRGE’s Institute convened scholars and advocates to explore how a human rights framework can be applied to water rights advocacy and implementation, with specific attention to accessibility, affordability and quality. The keynote speech, entitled, "Beyond Greens vs. The Poor: A Way Out of the U.S. Water Crisis", was delivered by Patricia Jones, Senior Program Leader on the Human Right to Water at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC).
"The Human Right to Water and Sanitation: Malmo's 'Sorgenfri' Roma Settlement and Beyond"
On December 8, 2015, Faculty Co-Director Martha F. Davis will present a seminar at the Swedish Foundation for Human Rights, entitled "The Human Right to Water and Sanitation: Malmo's 'Sorgenfri' Roma Settlement and Beyond". She will speak about the eviction of a Roma settlement in Malmo on environmental grounds and offer comparisons to the human rights struggles centered around the right to water in the United States.