Right to a healthy environment in human rights law
Razzaque, J. (2010) Right to a healthy environment in human rights law. In: Baderin, M. and Ssenyonjo, M., eds. (2010) International Human Rights Law: Six Decades after the UDHR and Beyond. Ashgate, pp. 115-135. ISBN 9781409403593
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The human right to a healthy environment is indispensable for leading a life with human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights. The fact that the environment and human rights are intrinsically linked, and that environmental degradation leads to poverty and human indignity, is not a contested issue. Since 1994, after the Ksentini report on ‘human rights and the environment’, there has been an expectation in both the human-rights and the environmental legal communities that this link would be discussed at policy-making levels.A number of non-binding instruments, while interpreting human rights treaties, and UN agencies in their policy documents, make explicit reference to the right to a healthy environment. There are ample cases in which the regional and national courts have interpreted the right to life liberally to accommodate the right to a healthy environment. In addition, the procedural rights (e.g. information, participation and justice) strengthen the substantive right to a healthy environment. Noting these developments in international, regional and national law, this chapter concludes that there are some acknowledgements of the existence of a right to a healthy environment in human rights law.