Water and the Arab Uprisings: the human right to water and sanitation in post-transition Egypt

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Hessling, Leonard
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This thesis analyses the water and sanitation crisis through the human rights lens in the context of the Egyptian uprisings of 2011. It introduces a tripartite approach, the water – human rights – governance nexus offering an alternative narrative to the uprisings. In questioning whether the water and sanitation crisis can be considered as one of the factors that fed into the uprisings, it is argued that the human right to water and sanitation provides an adequate framework to address precisely the grievances at the root of the uprisings. Post-transition has opened a window of opportunity in a unique socio-political situation when governance structures are under review, and a holistic and effective water and sanitation strategy taking account of the human right could finally be established. The thesis successively investigates the Egyptian context with particular regard to the authoritarian state and the water and sanitation crisis. The human right to water and sanitation is examined in the Egyptian legal context including the new constitution of 2012. Finally, the implementation of the human right is investigated through a baseline study of relevant stakeholders and their achievements as well as shortcomings. Identified challenges are mainly systemic in nature, relating to an inadequate institutional design and a lack of participation, transparency and accountability, which all can be traced back to a lack of political will to implement the human right to water and sanitation.
Second semester University: University College Dublin
democratisation, human rights, politics, sanitation, social change, water resources, Egypt