Mapping the Human Right to Water

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Charlotte Smith (School of Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences), Charisma Acey (Department of City and Regional Planning), Isha Ray (College of Natural Resources, Energy and Resources Group), and Helene Silverberg (Political Science), are exploring access to water and sanitation as a human right. This right means that everyone, without discrimination, should have access to adequate amounts of safe, accessible, and affordable water. The fundamentals of this right, are embraced in treaties and resolutions dating back to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights championed by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1948. Our group is exploring the policies and procedures of governments committed to the realization of this right for their citizens. We are engaged in communication with NGOs, government officials, advocates, and individuals world-wide who are focusing on this subject. Our group is also interested in instruments for effective communication and are exploring the use of graphic narratives called StoryMaps™ to consolidate and convey information. We intend to hold two public meetings, a discussion/open forum with the UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Right to Water and Sanitation in the Fall semester and a Symposium on Access to Safe Water as a Human Right in the Spring.