All posts by Julia

Ten practical advantages of a human rights approach to environmental advocacy (T. Kerns)

Author

Tom Kerns

Keywords

Human rights, Ethics, Relativism, Inquiries, Tribunals

Abstract

In order to draw any conclusion about what actions should be done, practical arguments require both a first premise which makes factual claims about the world and a second premise which asserts a value claim. This paper argues that among the second premise value claims available in environmental advocacy, a human rights approach includes distinct advantages that are not as available when relying only on other ethical approaches. The paper describes three practical measures that can be used in environmental human rights work—personal narratives, human rights assessment reports, and citizen-based inquiries and tribunals—and 10 practical advantages of using those and other human rights measures. These include helping to minimize the problem of moral relativism, appeals to compassion and reduction of ethical “slippage,” as well as thinking from the bottom up, access to a rhetorically persuasive vocabulary, and potentially useful legal advantages.

This paper argues that including a human rights dimension in environmental advocacy brings distinct practical advantages that are not as available when relying only on other ethical approaches. The paper describes three practical measures used in environmental human rights work and 10 practical advantages of using those measures.

Citation

Paper

Ten practical advantages of a human rights approach to environmental advocacy

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Scrutinizing the Impact of GMOs Through the Prism of Human Rights (R. Patowary)

Author

Rashmi Patowary

Keywords

Earth Jurisprudence, Food, Genetically Modified Organisms, Health, Human Rights

Abstract

Necessity is the mother of invention. The booming population triggered the need to carve out efficient ways to feed the growing millions. Biotechnology answered this need with the creation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). They are organisms whose genetic make up has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Such alterations enabled to create agricultural products (both plants and animals) that were resistant to diseases, harsh seasonal changes and had better nutritional qualities. Thus, it improved food both in quantitative and qualitative terms. But under the garb of these numerous benefits, one should not ignore the potential risks, which these organisms pose to the human health and the environment at large. GMOs provide a risk to human health as it can cause allergic reactions. It also causes significant loss to biodiversity and dismantle the sensitive balance of a food chain.

Human Rights, the inalienable rights bestowed to mankind, preserving its dignity and sanctity faces dilemma in the midst of the benefits and risks of GMOs. The human right to ‘foodand the human right to ‘health’ are quite relevant in this context. For instance, the benefit of condensing better nutritional qualities in food through the creation of GMOs apparently seems to protect the right to food. But, taking note of the possible threats of allergic reactions (the nature and gravity of which, is not known) and loss to biodiversity, may pose a long-term hidden challenge to the human right to health. Furthermore, human beings are an entity of the ever-changing and mysterious nature. The health and strength of our lives are connected to that of the earth. Thus, a loss of biodiversity and disruption of the sensitive food chain will also have repercussions on our right to food as well. The triggering of genetic mutation will also have effects upon other living organisms, which challenges the greater cohesion inherent in nature. This paper makes a humble attempt to study and analyze subtle but pertinent observations.

The Cartegena Protocol is the first and main international legal instrument regarding biosafety. It broadly covers protection of biodiversity and to regulate the manufacture, import and export of GMO based food products. It emphasis upon the concept of precautionary principle and introduces ‘labeling’ of food containing GMOs. The paper attempts to search solutions and evaluate the efficacy of solutions in existence in the International Legal Framework. The paper will also briefly evaluate the efficacy and efficiency of domestic legislations of India with regard to biosafety. It will try to analyze and evaluate the scales of justice in the light of earth jurisprudence.

Citation

(2014) 07/06 OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development 79-86

Paper

Scrutinizing the Impact of GMOs Through the Prism of Human Rights

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The Intersection between Constitution, Human Rights and the Environment: The French Charter for the Environment and the New Ex Post Constitutional Control in France (D. Marrani)

Author

David Marrani

Keywords

legal orders, French Constitution, environmental rights, human rights, French Constitutional Council, GMO, constitutional rights, green constitution

Abstract

There is a lot to be said about how environmental issues are reshaping the way we are living in the twenty-first century. Not only are those issues affecting the human race, but they are also affecting legal orders, sometimes even in their most conservative ‘parts’. The Charter for the Environment was integrated in the French Fifth Republic Constitution in 2005. It became the legal basis of many unforeseen changes, particularly the important recognition of its value by the ‘public law’ courts. Environmental rights seem to have become human rights after the 2008 landmark decision of the French Constitutional Council on the constitutionality of the statute on GMOs. In that decision, the Council reaffirmed the constitutional value of every right and duty defined in the Charter. The impact of this statement has recently been amplified with the introduction by the 2008 constitutional amendment of an ex post constitutional control. It is, therefore, time to consider whether the rights declared in the Charter are becoming ‘true’ constitutional rights.

Citation

(2014) 16 Environmental Law Review 107-121

Paper

The Intersection between Constitution, Human Rights and the Environment: The French Charter for the Environment and the New Ex Post Constitutional Control in France

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David Bollier, Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons – Book Review (A. Grear)

Author

Anna Grear

Keywords

business as usual, collective commons, commoners, digital commons, dispossession, market, neoliberal ideology, norms, property rights, urban food production, values

Abstract

At a time when there is widespread disillusionment with ‘business as usual’, attention is turning, thanks in part to the high-profile publication of books such as Jeremy Rifkin’s, The Zero Marginal Cost Society, towards the notion of ‘collective commons’ as an
alternative paradigm to neoliberal free-market economics.

David Bollier’s book broadens the focus to identify the centrality of commons (and ‘commoning’) to an epochal shift in consciousness now emergent across the world. Such scholarship suggests that a fundamentally different mode of being appears to be surfacing from beneath neoliberal market hegemony and the assumptions of ‘business as usual’ – presenting a renaissance of something much more ancient in the light of which the free market economy and the rise of homo economicus stand revealed as a historical anomaly.

This book provides a short, engaging and important introduction to the commons and to the dynamics of commoning, while unsettling important mainstream assumptions underlying life in the ‘real world’ of neoliberal globalization and the duopoly of the state-market complex.

Citation

(2014) 5/2 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 213-9

Paper

David Bollier, Think Like a Commoner – Book Review

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Human rights and the environment: a South Asian perspective (P. Hassan, A. Azfar)

Authors

Parvez Hassan and Azim Azfar

Keywords

South Asian, human rights, environment, separation, convergence, judicial activism, Hassan, future

Abstract

Offering an unrivalled quasi-autobiographical perspective on the South Asian contribution to the development of the relationship between human rights and the environment, Hassan and Azfar point towards the vital role of post-colonial nations in the important legal convergences between urgent concern for human dignity and for ecological responsibility in an age of environmental degradation. Tracing the unique contribution of South Asian judicial activism in the genesis of environmental human rights sensibilities, Hassan and Azfar point to future trajectories, arguing that the convergence of human rights and the environment has never been more pressing or urgent. They conclude that while the South Asian judiciary model is a radical jurisprudence of compassionate outrage for the marginalized and violated, it remains vital, due to national and cultural particularities, to continue to strengthen regional mechanisms and responses to human and environmental challenges if important international aspirations are to be fulfilled.

Citation

(2014) 5/2 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 192-212

Paper

Human rights and the environment: a South Asian perspective

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