Water has been regarded as the last frontier of privatization across the world. Most privatization arrangements do not involve any transfer of state assets to the private sector. Rather, the arrangements focus on the transfer of operational and managerial functions to the private sector. Several human rights concerns arise in any water privatization initiative. The fundamental question that arises is whether this transfer of functional responsibility gives rise to corresponding human rights duties on such nonstate actors and, if so, what the precise nature of these duties is. This article discusses the potential of voluntary initiatives for holding corporations responsible for the right to water in privatized contexts. It argues that although these voluntary initiatives contain flexible norms and procedures, from a legal pluralist perspective, these norms may be seen as law for participating firms. Such voluntary norms constitute an important development in a bid to hold corporations accountable for the right to water in the absence of binding international law norms on corporations.


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pp. 691-727
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