Exploitation of the Mekong River under theInternational Covenanton Economic, Social and Cultural Rightsaffecting Mekong communities


  • Dolnapa Nantawaroprai, Somchai Ratanachueskul


Every state must respect human dignity, as well as equal and inseparable rights of people as the fundamental freedom for living, occupation, access to natural resources, foods, and water sources. However, it appears that there are constructions of dams for water storage in the upper Mekong River, causing adverse impacts on people whose occupations depend on the water in the river as such water storage brings about drought in the lower part of the river. This is a violation against the obligations under international agreement on the common use of the Mekong River between the countries in the ASEAN sub-region and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) where the member countries of such agreement must respect. And if the powerful country continues such violation, it shall be liable under the principle of state responsibility. This article aims to introduce a legal measure by means of using the establishment of administrative organization of the Rhine River in the European Union (EU) as a model. Important recommendations include the administration under the rules enforceable among all the members of the Mekong River who get benefits from the River, i.e., these member countries shall pay proportionately to the length of their areas where the River flows pass. In the case where any member country gets the benefits from the dam construction, it shall allocate the profits from the sales of electricity to remedy and maintain ecological system, as well as the river basin communities who are affected economically. Furthermore, it shall create occupations and new jobs for seventy (70) people who are affected.