natural environment, human rights, basic rights, natural ecosystems, environmental rights, United Nations, Draft Declaration of Principles on Human Rights and the Environment
A vital connection exists between the natural environment and fundamental human rights. Basic survival of the human species is inherently linked to the healthy functioning of natural ecosystems, from which the essential components of daily life are directly and indirectly derived. The linkage between the environment and human rights has been recognized internationally in numerous human rights instruments. It formed the basis of a United Nations (“UN”) sub-commission study on human rights and the environment in the early 1990s. The UN Special Rapporteur submitted her final report in 1994. Appended to her report was a Draft Declaration of Principles on Human Rights and the Environment (“the Draft Declaration”).
Despite these efforts, and seemingly widespread recognition of the connection between human rights and the environment, formal recognition of “environmental rights” on a global level remains elusive. While the concept still generates occasional debate in international legal and political spheres, the Draft Declaration, which was designed to comprehensively address the environmental dimensions of human rights, has all but disappeared from the human rights agenda. The reasons for this are unclear.
This examination begins with a contextual overview of environmental rights. The paper continues with an outline of the history and current status of the Draft Declaration, followed by a general analysis of the document. The paper explores arguments advanced by both supporters and critics of the rights-based approach, and briefly discusses two …
(2003) 9 Appeal: Review of Current Law and Law Reform 45