It is time for the United Nations to recognise the human right to a healthy environment

by Professor John H. Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Earlier this month, on World Environment Day, the Executive Director of UN Environment, Erik Solheim, and I jointly stated that the historic moment has arrived for the United Nations to recognise the human right to a healthy environment at the global level. The fundamental UN human rights treaties do not include this right because the modern environmental movement began in the late 1960s, …

What are the human rights priorities of world governments in 2018?

by the URG team Blog, Blog

An independent analysis of the High Level Segment of the Human Rights Council At the opening of the 37th session of the Human Rights Council, nearly one hundred world leaders (e.g. presidents, prime ministers, and  ministers) delivered high level speeches commenting on the state of global human rights in 2018, and presenting their country’s priorities for the year ahead. The Universal …

Time to act – recognising the right to a healthy environment

by Marcos A. Orellana, Director of the Environment and Human Rights Program at Human Rights Watch and Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Global recognition of the right to a healthy environment is long overdue. There are opportunities emerging to do so, and this would give crucial support to threatened environmental activists. In March 2016, armed intruders battered down the door of the house where Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres, 44, was staying and killed her. By then, Cáceres, co-founder of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, …

Latin American defenders share experiences and gain safety net

by Liliana Jauregui and Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Currently, Latin America is the most deadly region in the world to be an environmental defender. IUCN NL and other partners recently held a  meeting  in Bogota, Colombia, centered on improving the safety of these defenders. Attendee and IUCN NL Environmental Justice Expert, Liliana Jauregui, learnt that we need to take action on three levels; Protection mechanisms on the ground, sharing …

Indigenous peoples and the environment: challenges and opportunities for the UN human rights system

by Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 1 August 2017, the Embassy of Turkey in Colombia, the Fundación el Nogal, and the Universal Rights Group, with the support of Club El Nogal, organised an event to raise awareness of the situation of the rights of indigenous peoples (IPs) in Colombia. This event saw the participation of high-level representatives of the Colombian Government, leaders of indigenous communities, …

Environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs): risking their today for our tomorrow

by Geneva Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Policy reports

Environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs): risking their today for our tomorrow

URG today launches a new Policy Brief on the situation of ‘environmental human rights defenders’ (EHRDs), individuals working, often at great personal risk, at the interface of human rights and environmental protection. The report, authored by John Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, and member of the Board of Trustees of the URG, is a first comprehensive assessment of the challenges and risks facing EHRDs, and how the international community can better support their work and protect their rights.

Human rights, climate change and cross-border displacement: the role of the international human rights community in contributing to effective and just solutions

by Jane McAdam, University of New South Wales and Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Policy reports

Human rights, climate change and cross-border displacement: the role of the international human rights community in contributing to effective and just solutions

The links between climate change and human rights are more widely accepted than ever before. The Human Rights Council has adopted a series of resolutions calling attention to the effects of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights, and the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC has also recognised that ‘the adverse effects of climate change have …

The Council’s full-day panel debate on climate change should be a springboard for further and deeper action in the run-up to COP21 in Paris

by Professor John H. Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The 28th session of the Human Rights Council marks the end of the initial three-year term of the mandate of the  Independent Expert on human rights and the environment . Over the past year, in my capacity as the Independent Expert, I have focused on identifying, promoting and exchanging views on good practices relating to the use of human rights obligations to inform, support and strengthen environmental policymaking. …

Environmental human rights defenders

According to the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders and various international NGOs, environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) are a group of growing importance and a group at particular risk. Yet little is understood about them, about the particular challenges they face, or about how the international community might best support them. This project aims at listening to the EHRDs …

Human rights, climate change and displacement

Climate change has enormous implications for the enjoyment of a wide range of internationally protected human rights. This is especially the case for people in already vulnerable situations. Over the past 8 years, the international community has taken a number of steps to leverage human rights law and principles to strengthen international responses to global warming. One of the most …