Environmental rights means any proclamation of a human right to environmental conditions of a specified quality.
Human rights and the environment are intertwined; human rights cannot be enjoyed without a safe, clean and healthy environment; and sustainable environmental governance cannot exist without the establishment of and respect for human rights. This relationship is increasingly recognised, as the right to a healthy environment is enshrined in over 100 constitutions. Despite this, at least three people a week are killed protecting our environmental rights- while many more are harassed, intimidated, criminalized and forced from their lands.
There are several established human rights related to the environment. Environmental rights are composed of substantive rights (fundamental rights) and procedural rights (tools used to achieve substantial rights).
Substantive are those in which the environment has a direct effect on the existence or the enjoyment of the right itself. Substantive rights comprise of: civil and political rights, such as the rights to life, freedom of association and freedom from discrimination; economic and social rights such as rights to health, food and an adequate standard of living; cultural rights such as rights to access religious sites; and collective rights affected by environmental degradation, such as the rights of indigenous peoples.
Procedural rights prescribe formal steps to be taken in enforcing legal rights. Procedural rights include 3 fundamental access rights: access to information, public participation, and access to justice.
- What are your environmental rights?
- Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment
- UN Environment's Defenders Policy
- Who are environmental defenders?