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The Human Right to a Healthy Environment

Book description

The absence of a globally recognized right to a healthy environment has not prevented the development of human rights norms relating to the environment. Indeed, one of the most noteworthy aspects of human rights law over the last twenty years is that UN treaty bodies, regional tribunals, special rapporteurs, and other human rights mechanisms have applied human rights law to environmental issues even without a stand-alone, justiciable human right to a healthy environment. In The Human Right to a Healthy Environment, a diverse set of scholars and practitioners, all of whom have been instrumental in defining the relationship between human rights and the environment, provide their thoughts on what is, or should be, the role of an international human right to a healthy environment. The right to a healthy environment could be a capstone to this field of law, could help to provide structure to it, or could move it in new directions.


‘In assembling this collection of essays, John H. Knox and Ramin Pejan have sought to deliver ‘a continuing conversation on the relationship between human rights and the environment'. They have succeeded admirably in generating a wide-ranging and diverse debate about a topic which loses none of its relevance in a world where climate change and global environmental destruction threaten the future of humanity itself.'

Alan Boyle - Edinburgh University

‘The right to breathe is surely the most fundamental of all rights, and the state of our planet must be placed at the heart of the human rights issue. The Human Right to a Healthy Environment advances this critical cause and supports the often deadly work of countless environmental defenders around the world. Its message is simple: we have both a moral and a legal imperative to act.'

Erik Solheim - Head of UN Environment

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