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Case note

A Tale of Two Communities: Inequality and the Right to Water in Hudorovič and Others v Slovenia

Author:

Mythili Mishra

LLB (London School of Economics and Political Science) '21, GB
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Abstract

Hudorovič and Others v Slovenia is a case concerning Roma communities living in informal settlements in Slovenia who did not have adequate access to safe drinking water and sanitation. This case was fought in the context of Slovenia making access to drinking water a constitutional right. This, however, did not become pertinent, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found no violation of Article 8 by a 5:2 majority in the first application, and unanimously found no violations under the other Articles and for the second application. This case note critically analyses three themes in the judgment. First, it evaluates the Court’s assessment of the right to water, contrasting it with Indian constitutional jurisprudence, and the framework proposed by the dissenting judges. It further proposes a qualified right to water in European human rights law. Second, it argues that the majority decontextualised the position of the Applicants in determining socio-economic issues. They ignored the history of social exclusion and inequality faced by the Roma people and the role of the State in addressing this, contrary to the concepts of substantive equality and positive obligations. This makes this case a ‘tale of two communities’. Finally, it notes the overarching theme of socio-economic rights in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), examining how the nature of the application in Hudorovič is difficult to fit within traditional European human rights law, and explains the tensions that emerge as a result.
How to Cite: Mishra, M., 2021. A Tale of Two Communities: Inequality and the Right to Water in Hudorovič and Others v Slovenia. LSE Law Review, 6(3), pp.170–178.
Published on 15 Mar 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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