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Accessing water through rights-based approach: problems and prospects regarding children

  • Nandita Singh
  • Per Wickenberg
  • Karsten Åström
  • Håkan Hydén
Publishing year: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 298-318
Publication/Series: Water Policy
Volume: Volume 14
Issue: Number 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: IWA Publishing

Abstract english

The right to water has been recently recognized as a fundamental human right by the United Nations, thereby clarifying its status as ‘legally binding’, making it ‘justiciable’ and enforceable. This development has been heralded as a key that holds great potential to change the lives of the billions who still lack access to clean water. Many of those deprived of enjoyment of the right are children, who constitute up to a third of the population in the developing world. What is the value added of the rights-based approach for access to water, especially for children? Would recognition of the right to water as legally binding deliver real benefits to children in improving their access to water? Does it really offer anything new that can help them realize their right to water more effectively? These questions will be explored in this paper using empirical evidence from India, where water has been legally interpreted as a fundamental right, and as a welfare state, where there has been consistent effort on part of the state to improve children's access to water.


  • Law and Society
  • Children
  • Empowerment
  • Gender
  • Human rights
  • India
  • Non-discrimination
  • Participation
  • Rights-based approach
  • Right to wate


  • ISSN: 1366-7017
Per Wickenberg
E-mail: per [dot] wickenberg [at] soclaw [dot] lu [dot] se


Department of Sociology of Law

+46 46 222 88 15



Professor emeritus

Department of Sociology of Law


Per Wickenberg was a primary school teacher in the 1970s - and '80s.  Since 1993 he has been working at Lund University, with various assignments based on sociology of law-research and education.

Sociology of Law Department
Lund University
Visiting address: Allhelgona Kyrkogata 14 M, 223 62 Lund, 3rd floor
Postal address: Box 42, 221 00 Lund

Faculty of Social Sciences