Championing Water Rights as Human Rights
07.22.20 — 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.
“Having access to safe, affordable water is a luxury easily taken for granted,” said Patel. "The inequities in our water distribution system are vast with disparities working against low-income communities and communities of color. Getting the opportunity to collaborate with PHRGE and Maryland Legal Aid to help combat this issue with a human rights framework has been incredibly inspiring.”
“The handbook covers issues such as housing and family law, but it did not previously have a chapter on water. The addition of this chapter recognizes that water is a growing human rights issue in the US as prices rise and particularly as COVID-19 demonstrates the public health impacts of inadequate water,” said Davis, author of several books about human rights, including the first textbook on domestic human rights, Human Rights Advocacy in the United States.
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