Call for papers: Special Issue “The Politics of the Human Right to Water”

Call for papers: Special Issue “The Politics of the Human Right to Water”

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the UN General Assembly resolution that declared water and sanitation stand-alone human rights. Yet, the politics of the human right to water is much older. It stretches back to at least the 1970s, when development actors first secured international recognition of the right; the 1990s, when both anti-privatization movements and multinational water corporations embraced it for their opposing campaigns; or the early 2000s, when lawyers and local communities invoked General Comment No. 15 on the Human Right to Water to improve affordable access. Today, the human right to water is the subject of diverse political struggles that seek to address the challenge that 750 million people do not have access to clean water—a lack that has been highlighted by the rapid spread of COVID-19.

This Special Issue invites contributions on the politics of human rights: its origins, its uses, and its effects. We are interested in papers that trace the emergence of the right in political discourse and legal documents, its use by different actors for diverse political goals, and/or its impact in practice—whether in improving access or affecting underlying politics. This Special Issue is interdisciplinary, and we encourage submissions from scholars and practitioners working in the social sciences, law, humanities, and natural sciences.

Prof. Dr. Bruce M. Wilson
Prof. Dr. Malcolm Langford
Dr. Rebecca Schiel
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI’s English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • human right to water
  • human rights
  • politics
  • water and sanitation
  • United Nations
  • rights realization
  • impact
  • accountability

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.

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