Human Rights and The Environment

Linking Human Rights and the Environment and
Environment as a Human Right.

A recurring topic in discussions on sustainability is the tension between environmental protection and economical development.

More and more it has been accepted that sound economical development in the long run depends on an environment that is healthy, clean and ecologically balanced.

In reaction to this growing awareness, many international treaties, laws and regulations have been entered into force in the area of environmental protection in the second half of the 20th century.

At first this did not include addressing environmental protection from a Human Rights perspective. Over the years, mainly since the 1970’s, the international community has started addressing and acknowledging links between Human Rights and Environmental Rights. Examples are the acknowledgement that Human Rights as life, personal integrity, health and family life ultimately depend on environmental protection.

Most recently it has become more and more accepted that Human Rights and the Environment are indivisible and inseparable. This thus posits the right to a clean and healthy environment as an independent substantive Human Right. There are multiple regional Human Right treaties and constitutions that imply or literally affirm "a Clean and Healthy Environment" to be a Human Right.

Adding to that, Climate Change has been on top of the political agenda over the last few years. Rising sea levels, extreme weather (e.g. droughts, storms, rain, etc.) and other recognised climate change effects already have an impact on the lives of millions.

The 2007 IPCC reports suggest that the number of people whose life, health and property will be impacted by climate change will only rise. Up to billions. If we do not act. Thus Climate Change clearly has human rights impacts too.

JustLaw specifically advises Human Rights institutions and organisations in this area. This includes corporations (for instance through CSR) and NGOs, such as Amnesty International.

JustLaw can also provide with presentations or lectures in this area. We have done so at/for Universities, International Human Rights Courses and Companies.

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