Category Archives: Humanitarian Law

Environmental and Developmental Rights in the Southern African Development Community With Specific Reference to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of South Africa (K. Bindu)

Author

Kihangi Bindu

Keywords

Environmental rights, International Law, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Development, United Nations

Extract

Summary
This study examines the effectiveness of environmental and developmental rights within the SADC region, especially the status of their implementation and enforcement in the DRC and the RSA. The SADC Treaty recognizes implicitly the rights to environment and to development. Unfortunately, the unequivocal commitment to deal with human rights within the region is not translated with equal force into the normative framework established by the Treaty or into SADC’s programmed activities. No institution has been established with the specific mandate to deal with human rights issues, neither are there any protocols or sectors especially entrusted with human rights protection and promotion. The SADC member States do not share the same understanding or agenda on matters pertaining to the respect for, and the promotion, protection
and the fulfilment, of human rights at the regional level. The inception of environmental and developmental rights within the Constitution of the DRC is still in its infancy compared to the situation in South Africa. Implementation and enforcement remain poor and need important support from all organs of state and from the Congolese citizens. A strong regulatory framework pertaining to human rights (environmental and developmental rights) remains an urgent issue. Guidance may be found in the South African model for the implementation and enforcement of human rights, although the realization of the right to environment in South Africa is hampered by a number of factors that cause the degradation of the environment. Against South Africa’s socio-economic and political background, the constitutionalization of the right to development remains of critical concern to a sustainable future for all. The Congolese and South African peoples need to be made aware of their constitutional rights, especially their environmental and development rights, and the institutions and the mechanisms available to enforce them. They need to be empowered to demand justice as a right not as an act of charity. It is patently clear that the authorities will not protect the environment or tackle the development agenda unless there is a strong people’s movement to challenge the State and other role players over environmental and development issues and ethics.

Citation

(2010) submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Laws at the University of South Africa

Paper

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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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Establishing a Right to Environment (M. Thorme)

Author

Melissa Thorme

Keywords

Human Rights, International Law, United Nations, Human Rights Commission, Sub-commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities

Excerpt

A. Statement of Purpose
[…]

For over two decades, scholars have debated the existence of a human right to environment. These debates have varied from generalized notions of what to include within the term “environment” to actual proposals for amendments to multinational human rights conventions. Unfortunately, the attention given to this subject over the years has not resulted in any substantial headway toward a legal recognition of the right.

This paper proposes a new avenue for establishing this international right, namely, by resolutions and actions, by the United Nations Sub- Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities (Sub-Commission) and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (Human Rights Commission). Establishing environment as a human right will make the right to environment as justiciable as other previously defined human rights. It will make human rights forums able, and more willing, to hear claims by individuals and non-governmental organizations. Claims alleging gross violations of this human right may then be brought whenever environmental degradation affecting human life, health, or well-being occurs. […]

Citation

(1990-1991) 19 Denver Journal on International Law and Policy 301

Paper

Establishing a Right to Environment

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Humanitarian Law, Protection of the Environment, and Human Rights (N.A.F. Popovic)

Author(s)

Neil A. F. Popovic

Keywords

Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, Environmental Destruction, Armed Conflict

Excerpt

Notwithstanding the relevance of international human rights to wartime environmental destruction, the international community tends to deal with war-related environmental harm through the modalities of humanitarian law. Although humanitarian law extensively regulates the conduct of war, that framework has neither proven effective in dealing with the environmental impact of war, nor does it provide remedies for affected people.

This comment proposes that increased accessibility of pertinent procedures, including human rights procedures, could provide useful mechanisms for addressing the environmental impact of armed conflict. Part II of the comment discusses the nature and extent of environmental problems associated with armed conflict. Part III discusses relevant legal principles and their limitations in relieving the environmental toll of war. Part IV presents several proposals for enhancing environmental protection in armed conflict. Part V concludes that it is necessary to expand the traditional scope of procedural and substantive mechanisms in order to ensure effective dealing with the environmental impact of war and the availability of remedies for the affected people.

Citation

(1995-6) 8 Georgetown International Environmental Law Review 67-133

Paper

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The Human Right to the Environment as a Substantive Right (M. Pallemaerts)

Author(s)

Marc Pallemaerts

Keywords

Human Rights, Right to a Healthy Environment, International Law, European Law, Substantive Right

Excerpt

The purpose of this introductory essay is to examine to what extent the existence of an individual right to a healthy environment is recognised under international law and, in so far as it is, what is the substantive content of such a right. To this end, we shall review relevant international instruments of a global as well as regional nature, both legally binding and non-binding, which address the relationship between environmental protection and human rights.

Citation

(2002) in Human Rights and the Environment: Compendium of instruments and other international texts on individual and collective rights relating to the environment and the international and European framework, Maguelonne Déjeant-Pons and Marc Pallemaerts, 11-21 (Germany: Council of Europe Publishing)

Paper

The Human Right to the Environment as a Substantive Right

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