Bound Volume Number
Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Arts and Science
how the human right to water can further our conceptualization of conflict resources and conflict risk
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
International and Area Studies
This paper examines the relationship between water and natural resource extraction to expand the understanding of conflict resources to include water stress as a human rights violation. My research question asks how the human right to water can further our conceptualization of conflict resources and conflict risk. If we understand conflict resources broadly as those whose exploitation leads to human rights violations, then any resource extraction resulting in water stress should be considered a conflict resource, as it violates the human right to water and could lead to increased conflict risk. I examine diamonds and coltan as “widely accepted” conflict resources with varying levels of international regulation. I also examine a uranium as natural resource not conventionally considered a conflict resource, and argue water stress caused by uranium mining is both a human rights violation and increases the risk of conflict in areas predisposed to high risk of violence. How we think about water affects how it is treated, both by communities and by corporations. In the case of natural resource extraction, water is not only part of the process, but also an externality of the process itself, which can negatively affect the surrounding population. If we view water as a human right, this can help identify the larger impacts of natural resource mining. The human right to water can help shift the power dynamics at play in the extraction of resources like uranium, where foreign corporations currently hold much of the power in decision-making and regulation
Durbin, Madeleine, "At Risk: Conflict Resources and the Right to Water in Sub-Saharan Africa" (2016). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 976.
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