New PHRGE Report Examines Inequities in Access to Clean and Affordable Drinking Water in the United States

Professor Martha Davis

09.13.23  — Northeastern Law’s Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) has partnered with Food & Water Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights and community members of Jackson, Mississippi, to submit a coalition report on drinking water access and affordability to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. As part of its 139th session, which convenes in Geneva on October 9, the Committee will conduct a review of the United States with regard to its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The report, “Drinking Water Access and Affordability & U.S. Compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” was spearheaded by Professor Martha Davis, PHRGE’s faculty co-director, and Jennifer A. Loveland-Rose ’25. In the submission, the coalition calls attention to the discriminatory deprivation of access to clean and affordable drinking water that Black, brown and Indigenous communities face in the U.S. compared to their white counterparts and argue that water is a human right enshrined in the right to life under the ICCPR.

“Water inequity is a growing concern in the United States,” said Davis, a member of the expert committee for HumanRight2Water, a Geneva-based non-governmental organization that advocates for water and human rights. “We hope that this international attention will lead to stronger federal, state, and local policies to equitable ensure access to this fundamental right.”

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