Indigenous Water Ontologies, Hydro-Development and the Human-no-Human Right to/of Water
A Call for a Critical Engagement with Plurilegal Water Realities
Water conflicts across the world are bringing to the fore fundamental challenges to the anthropocentric boundaries of the human rights paradigm. Engaging with the legal ethnographic setting of the Xalalá dam project in indigenous Q'eqchi' territory in Guatemala I will critically and empirically unpack not only the anthropocentric boundaries of the hegemonic human rights paradigm, but also the ontological differences between indigenous and Euro-Western legal conceptualization about water. I argue that engaging in dialogue with these ontologically different concepts of life-nature-water will pave the way for urgent rethinking the human right to water and human rights more broadly beyond the modern divides of nature/culture. However, international law and human rights scholars should not be afraid of these plurilegal water realities and should embark on a bottom-up co-theorizing about human/water rights beyond the human.