Bound Volume Number

Volume IV

Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-2016

Capstone Advisor

Francine D'Amico

Capstone Major

International Relations

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component



how the human right to water can further our conceptualization of conflict resources and conflict risk

Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

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

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



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