Category Archives: Procedural Rights

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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Procedural Rights as a Crucial Tool to Combat Climate Change (S. Kravchenko)

Author(s)

Svitlana Kravchenko

Keywords

human rights, procedural rights, combating climate change, freedom of expression, right to access information, right to participate in decision-making, access to justice, transparency, indigenous people, jurisprudence, human rights treaties, multilateral environmental agreements, civil society participation

Abstract

This Article will discuss how a subset of human rights – procedural rights – can play an important role in limiting climate change. These include freedom of expression and the right to seek and receive information, the right to participate in decision-making and the right of access to justice. States must address climate change through a transparent process of giving the public full and complete information during the early stages of decision-making in climate change related issues. States must also give the public a voice by allowing participation by all affected communities, including indigenous peoples.

In Part II, this Article will first discuss how freedom of expression and access to information are embedded in human rights treaties, multilateral environmental agreements, national constitutions and information laws, and in the jurisprudence of regional human rights and domestic courts, as well as national reporting and how these rights can be used for combating climate change. Part II will also briefly evaluate the right of investors to disclosure of climate risk information and the role of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in light of the agency’s new interpretive guidance on existing public company disclosure requirements relating to the issue of climate change.

In Part III, this Article will discuss public participation in decision-making related to climate change, first exploring the established legal framework for public participation in “soft law” MEAs, and in environmental impact assessments (EIAs), including the transboundary context. Part III concludes by providing case examples how procedural rights have been used to combat climate change. Finally, Part IV will evaluate the role of civil society participation in the negotiation of an international treaty at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Fifteenth Session of the Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen, as well as the author’s participation in the Working Group on Human Rights and Climate Change.

Citation

(2010) 38 (3) Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law 613

Paper

Procedural Rights as a Crucial Tool to Combat Climate Change

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Constitutional Protection for Environmental Rights: The Benefits of Environmental Process (E. Daly)

Author

Erin Daly

Keywords

environmental law, environmental rights, human rights, constitutional law, constitutions

Abstract

More and more constitutions around the world — from Bangladesh to Bolivia, and from the Philippines to the countries of the EU — are explicitly protecting environmental rights and the values of a clean and healthy environment. In many instances, environmental rights are recognized not as substantive entitlements (which would allow litigants to sue if the government polluted their rivers or clearcut their forests), but as procedural rights. Examples of procedural rights include imposing on governments the obligation to consult with communities before they take actions that will affect their environment or giving individuals the right to participate in governmental processes that will affect their environment. While procedural rights do not guarantee a particular outcome, they may be more effective in preventing environmental degradation. This paper assesses the efficacy of these procedural constitutional environmental protections and seeks to determine whether procedural rights can be more efficacious than substantive environmental rights.

Citation

E. Daly, Constitutional Protection for Environmental Rights: The Benefits of Environmental Process (2012). International Journal of Peace Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2012

Paper

Constitutional Protection for Environmental Rights: The Benefits of Environmental Process

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The Right to a Healthy Environment, Human Rights and Sustainable Development (S. Giorgetta)

Author(s)

Sueli Giorgetta

Keywords

sustainable development, environmental preservation, rights of present and future generations, human rights, right to a healthy environment, international law, procedural rights, public participation, human rights law, international law

Abstract

The concept of sustainable development is presented as a solution able to cope with development needs and the preservation of the environment, protecting it for present and future generations. The right to a healthy environment may be part of existing international law being implemented through human rights instruments. The procedural aspect of the right to a healthy environment embodies the right to information, the right to participate and the right to effective remedies. Participation in the decision-making process and available and effective means of redress are essential features of the right to a healthy environment. Expressed in the field of human rights law, these principles convey the notions that citizens are entitle to participate. The Aarhus Convention links environmental protection and human rights norms and is the first international legally binding instrument elaborating on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration and recognizing the right to a healthy environment.

Citation

(2002) 2 International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics 173

Paper

The Right to a Healthy Environment, Human Rights and Sustainable
Development

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Global Importance of Human Rights for Environmental Protection (M. Fitzmaurice)

Author(s)

Malgosia Fitzmaurice

Keywords

human rights, environmental protection, European Union Law, European Convention on Human Rights and Political Freedoms, human rights law, procedural environmental rights, Aarhus Convention

Abstract

The essay analyzes the global importance of human rights for environmental protection. Having analyzed various regional human rights treaties, it is difficult to draw up a definite answer as to the role of human rights in global environmental protection. It may be said that international human rights law protects an individual from environmental harm, but is ineffective in protecting the environment itself. One of the obstacles when attempting to address environmental issues through human rights law is the narrow formulation of standing before the human rights courts and the lack of actio popularis. Some interesting examples of the redress of environmental claims through human rights law are provided in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, where such claims are based mainly on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Political Freedoms. However, close analysis of this case law indicates that the Court adopted a limited interpretation of Article 8 of the Convention when redressing environmental claims. Therefore, the future of environmental human rights lies in the procedural environmental rights as embodied in the 1998 Aarhus Convention.

Citation

(2009) 1 The Global Community Yearbook of International Law and Jurisprudence 73

Paper

Global Importance of Human Rights for Environmental Protection

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