Winners of the Essay Contest, along with other selected participants, are invited to present their papers during the Human Rights Essay Colloquium. The colloquium, which takes place each spring semester, is an opportunity for students to present human rights papers and engage in open and lively discussion with other students and faculty members.
View all past Essay Contest winners below. Click on the winner to see their paper abstract.
Barnard College, Undergraduate
Water Apartheid: The Struggle for Water in Palestine
The Middle East and North Africa are facing the most extreme problems of water scarcity worldwide. Issues like poorly developed infrastructure and non-cooperation regarding sharing between nations are amongst the top contributors as to why these countries suffer from water shortage. One of the best examples of these issues lies in Israel and Palestine. Israel, the occupying power, has continued to consume water comparable to that of other developed nations while systematically denying the Palestinian Territories of the water necessary to live. The Gaza strip is facing serious water quality issues, and because of this, serious quantity issues as well. The West Bank suffers mainly from water quantity issues. Though there are organizations and non-state actors that supply humanitarian aid for the Palestinians, there is no sustainable system that exists in the territories for cleaning and distributing water. Also, much needed information to more properly assess the water crisis is not made public due to “national security” conflicts. These constraints only add to the problems facing the region. Without proper assessment of the full extent of the problem, and without a reform in the discriminatory policies and system in place, no steps can be taken at resolving this human rights crisis.