Tag Archives: obligations

Our Rights and Obligations to Future Generations for the Environment (E. B. Weiss)

Author(s)

Edith Brown Weiss

Keywords

environmental destruction, desecration, natural resources, future generations, duties, obligations, inter-generational justice

Introduction

We read every day about the desecration of our environment and the mismanagement of our natural resources. We have always had the capacity to wreck the environment on a small or even regional scale. Centuries of irrigation without adequate drainage in ancient times converted large areas of the fertile Tigris-Euphrates valley into barren desert. What is new is that we now have the power to change our global environment irreversibly, with profoundly damaging effects on the robustness and integrity of the planet and the heritage that we pass to future generation.

Citation

(1990) 84 American Journal of International Law 198

Paper

Our Rights and Obligations to Future Generations for the Environment

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Environmental Rights (J. G. Merrills)

Author(s)

John G. Merrills

Keywords

environmental rights, human rights, environmental treaties, freedom of information, right to environment, value of rights, determinacy, consistency, obligations, legal rights, moral rights

Abstract

The relation between the environment and human rights has led to considerable interest in the subject of ‘environmental rights’ – which raises the possibility of formulating claims relating to the environment in terms of human rights. As well as the case law concerned with certain human rights, we therefore find environmental treaties with provisions on freedom of information and similar guarantees and, at the most general level, a discussion of the advantages of adding a broad ‘right to environment’ to the list of traditional human rights. This article discusses the value of rights, the rights we have, who can have rights, issues of determinacy and consistency, who bears the corresponding obligations, the content of rights, the relationship between different rights, and legal rights and moral rights.

Citation

Merrills, John G. 2007. Environmental Rights, in The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law, eds. Bodansky et al. Oxford: Oxford University Publishing.

Paper

Environmental Rights

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Human Rights Obligations and Accountability in the Face of Change (M. Limon)

Author(s)

Marc Limon

Keywords

small island developing states, climate change, international human rights, obligations, accountability, global warming, vulnerable people

Abstract

In November 2007, Small Island Developing States, meeting in the Maldives, adopted the Male’ Declaration on the Human Dimension of Global Climate Change.’ The declaration laid down a roadmap for actions within the UN system designed to explore and draw attention to the relationship between global warming and the full enjoyment of human rights. In June 2009 the various steps foreseen in the Male’ Declaration reached their conclusion when the United Nations Human Rights Council (the Council or the Human Rights Council) held a dedicated interactive panel debate on the relationship between human rights and climate change during its Eleventh Session in June 2009.

The present time, therefore, offers an important opportunity to take stock of progress achieved since the Male’ Declaration was adopted, to assess the current situation, and to consider possible next steps. This Article will offer an assessment of what has been achieved by the rapidly evolving international agenda on human rights and climate change. It will do so by looking at how the international understanding of the complex and multifaceted relationship between climate change and human rights has evolved over the past one and a half years. This will entail an analysis of the degree to which the international community, through the process launched by the Male’ Declaration, has answered three crucial questions pertaining to the human rights climate change interface:

1. Is there a relationship between climate change and human rights, and if so, what is the nature of that relationship?

2. Does climate change constitute a violation of human rights, especially the rights of vulnerable people?

3. Irrespective of whether climate change represents a human rights violation, what are states’ national-level and international-level human rights obligations pertaining to climate change?

After assessing progress in addressing these three central questions, the Article will then move to propose possible next steps, on behalf of the international community, to further clarify the issues at hand and to transpose that understanding into actual mechanisms to better promote and protect human rights in the face of climate change.

This Article will focus solely on actions undertaken within the context of the United Nations Human Rights Council and related international human rights mechanisms. Although academia and non-governmental bodies have played a crucial role in the evolution of the human rights, climate change agenda, their contribution will not be covered here. Moreover, in analyzing progress, the Article will focus on the evolution of hard and soft law in the area, and not on the broader perceptional achievements of the human rights and climate change agenda. Notwithstanding this necessary (for reasons of space) omission, it is clear that such perceptional achievements (i.e., how seeing climate change through a human rights lens has changed the nature of the international conversation on the subject) have been extremely significant (and probably more so than legal achievements).

Citation

(2010) 38 Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law 543

Paper

Human Rights Obligations and Accountability in the Face of Change

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Climate Change, Intellectual Property, and the Scope of Human Rights Obligations (K. Kapur)

Author(s)

Kavita Kapur

Keywords

human rights, climate change, intellectual property, obligations, clean energy technology, medicines

Abstract

“This article begins by looking specifically at the challenges that climate change poses to the traditional human rights framework, as well as the sources of human rights obligations in relation to climate change. The discussion then turns to questions of access to clean energy technology, and contrasts the issue to the debate over access to essential medicines. Next, the article focuses on prospective tensions with IP protections in the context of access to clean energy technology by applying various analytical frameworks grounded in human rights. The article concludes by underscoring the importance of the human rights analysis in mediating this tension and by cautioning against the creation of fortified IP protections that do not prioritize human
rights considerations.”

Citation

(2011) 11 (2) Sustainable Development Law and Policy 58.

Paper

Climate Change, Intellectual Property, and the Scope of Human Rights Obligations

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