Category Archives: Disaster

The Contribution of Human Rights as an Additional Perspective on Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific (S. Tully)

Author(s)

Stephen Tully

Keywords

Climate Change, Human Rights, Climate Impacts, United Nations, Pacific Islands, Resettlement, International Humanitarian Law, International Environmental Law, Environmental Refugees

Abstract

The adverse impacts of climate change include temperature variations, lost biodiversity and more frequent extreme weather events. In particular, low-lying Pacific Island countries and territories will be inundated if predicted sea level rises eventuate. These impacts threaten the continued enjoyment by Pacific Islanders of their fundamental human rights. Rising sea levels threatens their personal safety, continued good health, secure access to proper means of subsistence including food and water and the habitability of coastal settlements. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change encourages developed states to adopt measures that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and financially support adaptation activity undertaken by developing countries. However, several states lack the requisite political will, financial support is inadequate, adaptation measures are limited and small island developing states are becoming increasingly vulnerable. This article provides an overview of climate change impacts within the Pacific region in human rights terms. It argues that the strategy of adaptation, although consistent with the sustainable development agenda, is limited as an effective long-term response to sea level rise. It proposes an international framework that ensures, in the worst-case scenario, that affected individuals are relocated and resettled within other states. It draws upon existing and emergent legal regimes with respect to humanitarian assistance, natural disasters, maritime law concerning search and rescue, internally displaced persons, the environmental refugee concept and the obligations of interstate cooperation arising under international environmental law in the event of transboundary harm. This framework will be most effective if underpinned by the many positive contributions to be made by the paradigm for the protection of human rights.

Citation

(2007) 5 New Zealand Journal of Public International Law 175

Paper

The Contribution of Human Rights as an Additional Perspective on Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific

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International Legal Protection for Victims of Environmental Abuse (M.L. Schwartz)

Author(s)

Michelle Leighton Schwartz

Keywords

Human Rights, Right to life, Rights of indigenous peoples, procedural human rights, human right to a healthy environment, environmental refugees, desertification, flooding, international finance institutions, International Court of Justice, International Labour Organisation

Excerpt

Environmental disasters are increasing. They often result from human activities, such as the disposal of toxic chemicals, the generation of power, and the exploitation of oil. Mismanagement of natural resources has caused severe watershed erosion, desertification and atmospheric pollution which, in turn, have seriously impaired human life. Although the human suffering associated with environmental destruction is growing, international and regional human rights institutions have yet to clarify the obligations of governments to protect and provide remedies for these victims. This paper seeks to inspire such clarification and suggests legal and institutional reforms toward that end.

Citation

(1993) 18 Yale Journal of International Law 355

Paper

International Legal Protection for Victims of Environmental Abuse

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Contextualizing Environmental Human Rights: A Relativist Perspective (R. Mushkat)

Author(s)

Roda Mushkat

Keywords

environmental protection, environmental deterioration, environmental damage, environmental human rights, relativist, relativism

Abstract

INTRODUCTION
The global environment continues to deteriorate, a phenomenon which manifests itself in virtually every sphere featuring interaction between man and nature. The full scale of this deterioration may not be fully apparent because of the long time lag between the emergence of environmental problems and their recognition. The extent of damage, actual and potential, to the physical habitat inevitably varies from one segment of the system to another, but it is considered to be serious overall and is deemed to be verging on the critical in certain physical domains, although an element of value judgement is doubtless involved in such assessments. Where the disruption caused/to be caused is most acute, global warming being an obvious case in point, one may legitimately conjure up scenarios depicting uncontrolled escalation, inadequate coping mechanisms, and widespread social dislocation. The consequences of man’s abuse of nature have by no means gone unnoticed. They have been acknowledged and incorporated into the policy agenda at the global, regional, national, and subnational level. The law has played a vital role in the process, both through domestic and international channels. Nevertheless, the problems persist – indeed, they proliferate and assume more unpalatable forms. Institutional responses are seldom commensurate with challenges confronting communities and environmental degradation is perhaps no exception to the norm.

Citation

(2009) 26 Pace Environmental Law Review 116.

Paper

Contextualizing Environmental Human Rights: A Relativist Perspective

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The Human Right to a Healthy Environment: An International Legal Perspective (McClymounds)

Author(s)

James T. McClymonds

Keywords

international human rights, right to a healthy environment, environmental crisis, international environmental law, state sovereignty, human values, environmental protection, development practices

Abstract

This note examines the development of the international human right to a healthy environment by both determining the extent to which the right has emerged in recent years and by outlining the scope and content of the right as it has emerged. In the first section, the mounting environmental crisis and its effects on human values are described. The second section explores the extent to which explicit recognition of the right to a healthy environment has emerged as a binding international legal principle. The emerging right to development and current developments regarding the principle of state sovereignty are explored as well. In the third section, current international environmental law is examined to glean the emerging principles that define the scope and content of the right. This note concludes in the fourth section by suggesting that although several important elements of the right have emerged under international law, other critical elements have not-particularly those relating to effective implementation and the individual’s ability to bring claims. In addition, this note argues that ultimately the countervailing right to development does not present an obstacle to the emergence of the right to a healthy environment because the growing awareness of the interrelationship between development and ecological health has already led to the incorporation of environmental-protection policies into development practices. Rather, the unwillingness of governments to concede sovereign authority presents the greatest barrier to the growth of the right. Until nation-states are willing to relinquish some measure of state sovereignty, the right to a healthy environment will remain unrealized.

Citation

(1992) 37 New York Law School Law Review 583.

Paper

The Human Right to a Healthy Environment: An International Legal Perspective

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Solidarity after Bhopal: Building a Transnational Environmental Justice Movement (R. Pariyadath and R. Shadaan)

Authors

Renu Pariyadath, Reena Shadaan

Keywords

Bhopal, Environmental Justice, India, Solidarity, Transnational Environmental Justice Movement

Abstract

Environmental Justice is the essential peer-reviewed journal that explores the equitable treatment of all people, especially minority and low-income populations, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Published bimonthly

Citation

(2014) 7(5) Environmental Justice 146-150

Paper

Solidarity after Bhopal: Building a Transnational Environmental Justice Movement

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