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Sink or Swim: Abrogating the Nile Treaties While Upholding the Rule of Law

September 2013

Citation: ELR 10786

Author: Alice Shih and Trevor Stutz

A shocking 80% of the Nile’s water is consumed by one country: Egypt. The upstream riparian countries threaten to encroach on Egypt’s share of water as recordbreaking populations, droughts, and famines generate ever-greater need. Indeed, the increasingly dire fight over the Nile stands to be one of the most significant global crises and potential armed conflicts of this century. Egypt maintains the rights to a vast majority of the Nile’s waters based on colonialera treaties. Following state succession, new riparian States have disavowed these treaties, but the inequitable colonial treaties survived the process of decolonization. Nevertheless, current events demonstrate that this inequitable water allocation cannot persist without violating human rights.

Alice Shih is a 2012 Yale Law School graduate, currently clerking on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Trevor Stutz is a 2012 Yale Law School graduate, currently clerking on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

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