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Document Type

Article

Abstract

At the international level, water is now understood to be a basic human right. However, conflict continues to intensify surrounding indigenous people's access to water as the resource becomes scarcer. In particular, this paper will examine the struggle of indigenous people in Latin America and the creation of the Latin American Water Tribunal (LAWT) as a solution. Section II will describe the LAWT, including the formation of the tribunal, case selection, and the structure of the public hearing. Section III will discuss both how the LAWT overcomes problems with the current legal system and the success of the tribunal as an ethical tribunal and public forum. Section IV is a case study, analyzing the conflict surrounding the Cutzamala System in Mexico and the subsequent public hearing held by the LAWT. Section V will discuss the future impact of the LAWT on the field of alternate dispute resolution. Although the tribunal is young, the LAWT combines various dispute resolution approaches in such a way that the disadvantages and drawbacks of traditional mediation and arbitration are eliminated; consequently, the LAWT provides a forum for indigenous communities to resolve water disputes based on the ethical and public nature of the hearings.