Mexico: Water, conflicts and human rights

?Water, conflicts and human rights? is an interesting and disturbing report prepared by the Monitoring and Analysis Unit of the ?Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez? Centre for Human Rights (ProDH), a prominent Jesuit Social Centre and human rights organisation in Mexico. The report is the Centre?s first attempt to analyse the right to water as a human right, one that is closely interrelated with other human rights. This understanding emerges from an analysis of political and social conflicts in which water has played, more or less openly, a strategic role. The report presents a number of conflict cases ? involving private and semi-public companies, as well as multinational corporations – which illustrate how water is a basic public good instrumental for guaranteeing other rights. As the first step in the long chain of rights, it generates a multi-layered impact on the human rights of affected groups. The report shows how contamination of waters, non-performance by civil servants, illegal appropriation of water, corruption of public authorities favouring private companies, and arbitrary use of power are all issues that spring up around access to water. It points to the lack of a national strategy on water that covers the entire Mexican population. In all these cases, the report argues, the policy framework, the practices of public authorities and of third parties are substantive elements in determining violations of the human right to water. The report concludes by saying that unless the Government implements clear and effective measures to defuse the social tension over the control of water and ensures implementation of international criteria, the governance crisis affecting the country will necessarily worsen. To download the report (in Spanish), go to: www.centroprodh.org.mx/Publicaciones/Informes