Strengthening “International law of transboundary rivers” through international human rights law, international criminal law and international humanitarian law. The dynamics of the right to water

Published: Ιαν 15, 2023
International Law of Transboundary Rivers; transboundary rivers’ governance; international peace and security; primary purposes of International Law; International Human Rights Law; International Criminal Law; International Humanitarian Law; the human right to water and sanitation; regional human rights mechanisms.
Virginia Balafouta

In the current paper, taking into account the transboundary rivers’ special importance and value, it is proposed that “International Law of Transboundary Rivers” should be established as an autonomous legal branch of International Law. Firstly, a legal framework for International Law of Transboundary Rivers is proposed, and then suggestions are made for its strengthening. It is argued that the governance of transboundary rivers is closely linked and promotes the maintenance of international peace and security, and all the other primary purposes of International Law. Moreover, the connection of International Law of Transboundary Rivers with International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law is suggested. In addition, the proposed framework is linked to the Resolution A/RES/64/292 (2010) “The human right to water and sanitation”. The human right to water and sanitation, and its crucial importance are analyzed. In the context of the paper, the connection of the right to water and sanitation with several rights already enshrined: i) in the European Convention on Human Rights, ii) in the American Convention on Human Rights, and iii) in the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights is attempted. This suggestion is made in order to be possible for individuals and for states to legally invoke and judicially assert this right. By the combined invocation of the right to water and sanitation with these rights, it could become possible to utilize the relevant regional human rights instruments and mechanisms, for the legal assertion of the right to water and sanitation, and for the fair and equitable use of transboundary rivers and their resources.

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