Constitutionalising Rights to Water and Sanitation: International Norm Diffusion or Local Politics?
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Water constitutes the foundation of human life. Without water, no one survives. In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 64/292 recognising the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. Subsequently, constitutionalisation of the Water and Sanitation rights has proliferated, and 31 countries have now constitutionalised the right to water and sanitation. This thesis seeks to understand the impact of this international norm development, and specifically whether and how international norm development led to the proliferation of water and sanitation in national constitutional texts. I conduct a comparative analysis of all constitutions and an in-depth study of the Kenyan constitution-making process. The comparative study finds an increase in human rights language around provisions of water and sanitation in constitutions, supporting the hypothesis of change in language over time. The case study suggests that the international norm development to some extent do influence constitutionalisation of rights to water and sanitation, confirming the second hypothesis. It also reveals other factors of influence, such as the South African constitution, local and regional human rights- and water movements, and the Kenyan people.