Environmental Rights


Human Rights and Enironmental Law


A number of soft law instruments explicitly refer to a human right to environment

- UN Stockholm Declaration, 1972, Principle 1.

UN Rio Declaration, 1992, Principle 1.


At a regional level, two legally binding instruments explicitly provide for a hunan right to a sound or satisfactory environment.

African Charter on Human and Peoples´ Rights, 1981. Article 24 and article 21.

Inter-American ´Protocol of San Salvador´, 1988. Article 11.


Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UNCESCR) issues a General Comment regarding right to water, based on Article 11 and 12 ICESCR.

ICESCR, article 11 and 12.

General Comment 15, 2002/2003.


Environmental Law and Human Rights in Practice


United Nations: Human Rights Committee of the ICCPR

EHP v Canada (1982)

Bordes and Tameharo v France (1996)

Brun v France (2006)


America: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Yanomani Indians v Brazil (1985)

Mary and Carrie Dann v Unites States (2002)

Maya Indigenous Community of the Toledo District v Belize (2004)


Europe (Charts and legislation)

-ECHR, Article 8 (1), Article 2

ECHR (1950)and Additional Protocol 1, Right to Property


Case-Law: European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)

Powell and Rayner v United Kingdom (1990)

Fredin v Sweden (1991)

-Zander v Sweden (1993)

-Lopéz Ostra v Spain (1994)

-Balmer-Schafroth and others v Switzerland (1997)

-Guerra and others v Italy (1998)

-McGinley and Egan v United Kingdom (1998)

-Chapman v United Kingdom (2001)

-Kyrtatos v Greece (2003)

-Hatton and others v United Kingdom (2003)

-Taskin and others v Turkey (2004)

-Gomez v Spain (2004)

-Öneryildiz v Turkey (2004)

-Fadeyeva v Russia (2005)

-Katsoulis and others v Greece (2005)

-Giacomelli v Italy (2006)

-Budayeva and others v Russia (2008)

-Tatar v Romania (2009)


Right to Participation, Environmental Law

Non-governmental actors has an opportunity to participate in governmental affairs. International treaty norms granting public participation in domestic decision-making processes are conceptually linked to procedural human rights guarantees in international human rights treaties. Non-governmental actors exercising these participatory rights help ensure that their states comply with their obligations under international environmental law. Public participation relies on three pillars: access to information, participation in decision-making and access to justice. 

-Equal Rights of Access in Relation to Transfrontier Pollution, 1976, paragraph 2.

Nordic Convention on the Protection of the Environment, 1974

-Espoo Convention, article 2(6)

-Aarhus Convention, 1998. The lack of opportunity for individuals to submit complaints about alleged violations of the Aarhus Convention to an independent international body distinguished the Convention from genuine human rights treaties.

-(The revised) Maputo African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (Maputo Convention), article XVI




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[23 October 2015]


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