Tag Archives: social rights

Pursuing Environmental Justice with International Human Rights and State Constitutions (Neil A. F. Popovic)

Author

Neil A.F. Popovic

Keywords

environmental justice, environmental rights, international human rights, state constitution, environmental racism, environmental degradation, poverty, social rights, environmental hazards, inequality, civil rights

Extract

I. Introduction

Notwithstanding the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the law, environmental racism thrives in the United States. Its manifestations include toxic waste dumps on indigenous lands, hazardous industrial facilities in communities of color, lead paint in decrepit housing projects, and use of dangerous pesticides in industrial agriculture. Environmental racism feeds on and perpetuates the social, economic and political marginalization of low-income communities and communities of color. As such, environmental racism in the United States represents a serious blight on the country’s human rights record.

Discriminatory siting decisions for environmentally hazardous facilities and uneven enforcement decisions do not necessarily result from consciously racist policy choices. More likely, they issue from a political and social system that marginalizes the participation and concern of communities of color, often through ostensibly neutral criteria. The effect, however, is no less racist than overt discrimination.

The United States has a substantial body of both environmental and civil rights laws, but none of these laws addresses the link between racism and environmental quality. 2 At best, environmental laws can enhance protection of the environment while civil rights laws can facilitate the rectification of overt racial discrimination. Neither body of law, however, addresses the impact of environmental degradation on human communities, and neither deals specifically with environmental racism.

Citation

(1996) 15 Stanford Environmental Law Journal 338 pp. 344-47

Paper

Pursuing Environmental Justice with International Human Rights and State Constitutions

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Integrated Justice: Human Rights, Climate Change, and Poverty (S. L. Kass)

Author(s)

Stephen L. Kass

Keywords

human rights, climate change, poverty, justice, economic rights, civil rights, political rights, social rights, cultural rights

Abstract

The human rights community in the United States has remained largely silent on the human rights implications of climate change, the most far-reaching change in the Earth’s environment since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. 1 Many U.S. human rights organizations have also ignored or treated as background the growing numbers of people living or dying in extreme poverty in the developing world. Yet climate change is certain to exacerbate the severe environmental and economic conditions already faced by billions of people. These conditions contribute to widespread violations of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights that are the central concern of human rights organizations.

This Article outlines a role that human rights organizations in the United States and elsewhere can play in linking environmentally irresponsible conduct by governments and corporations to the violation of basic human rights. In addition, this Article identifies rights-based remedies for those violations. The goal is neither to assert a new right to a clean (or cooler) environment nor to prescribe specific climate change policies to governments or others. However, climate change and related environmental decisions made by governmental and corporate authorities must now take into account both procedural and substantive human rights and the impact of those decisions on the world’s poor. For the same reason, organizations committed to overcoming poverty, defending the environment, and protecting human rights should revise their tendency to view challenges, in developing nations and elsewhere, through a single lens and should pursue, either together …

Citation

(2009) 18 Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems 115.

Paper

Integrated Justice: Human Rights, Climate Change, and Poverty

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A Moral Imperative: The Human Rights Implications of Climate Change (S. C. Aminzadeh)

Author

Sara C. Aminzadeh

Keywords

climate change, environment, human rights, social rights, food security, public health, livelihoods

Abstract

Climate change is increasingly identified as one of the major crises facing the international community in the 21st century. Even conservative forecasts predict dramatic effects to environments, economies, and people around the world. Although climate change is already understood as an environmental problem, and increasingly as an economic one,  the social and human rights implications of climate change are given little discussion. Yet climate change threatens food security, public health, property, and the livelihoods and lives of members of affected communities. Like other environmental issues, climate change threatens the human rights of those living in affected communities.

The ultimate goal of climate change advocacy is to encourage nations to scale back their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to a point where GHG concentrations in the atmosphere stabilize and then decrease to a level that prevents dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. However, the sheer size of the problem and the cost of mitigation have forestalled meaningful engagement and cooperation on the issue. Lawyers and environmental advocates have begun to use litigation and other legal avenues as a way to forge progress. One particularly innovative example is a team of lawyers who recently used a human rights approach to climate change in a petition filed on behalf of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). 

This note aims to continue the discourse prompted by the Inuit Petition and explore related issues on climate change and human rights…

Citation

(2007) 30 Hastings International and Comparative Law Review 231.

Paper

A Moral Imperative: The Human Rights Implications of Climate
Change

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The creativity of the European Court of Human Rights (A. Mowbray)

Author

Alastair Mowbray

Keywords

European Court of Human Rights; Human rights; Judicial decision-making; Jurisprudence; Treaty interpretation

Abstract

Considers the ways in which the European Court of Human Rights has assumed a creative role in response to changing ethical standards and social circumstances. Reviews case law on the court’s development of the “living instrument” doctrine and the “practical and effective use” doctrine to interpret the European Convention on Human Rights 1950, and assesses the advantages and drawbacks of both approaches. Discusses the court’s efforts to balance respect for the policy making responsibilities of states with judicial creativity when interpreting the Convention.

Citation

(2005) 5(1) Human Rights Law Review 57-79

Paper

The creativity of the European Court of Human Rights

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