#TheTimeIsNow – UN recognition of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment: Past developments and future prospects

by Abigail WEISS, URG Fellow Blog, Blog

Last week, the URG, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, Dr. David Boyd, in partnership with New York University, held an expert seminar to look ahead towards the possible UN General Assembly recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment (R2HE). Over the course of the …

What are the human rights priorities of world governments in 2022?

by the URG team Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, URG Human Rights Council Reports

An independent analysis of the High-Level Segment of the Human Rights Council The High-Level Segment of the 49th session of the Human Rights Council , held from February 28 to March 3 2022, saw the active participation of more than 120 world leaders, including six heads or deputy heads of State, five heads or deputy heads of Government, and 107 ministers or vice-ministers. In the statements delivered …

Human Rights Day: From recognition to action on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

by Dr Justin Pettit, Human Rights Adviser, Commonwealth Secretariat and Dr Shavana Haythornthwaite, Head, Human Rights Unit, Commonwealth Secretariat Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

This blog was first published on the Commonwealth website The critical state of the environment, the acceleration of climate change, the serious impacts of pollution and the increasing loss of biodiversity are undeniable. They jeopardise food security, weaken public health, exacerbate conflict and displacement, deepen inequalities, undermine development, threaten achievement of the SDGs, and impede economic growth – all whilst …

Report on the 48th session of the Human Rights Council

by the URG team Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, URG Human Rights Council Reports

Quick summary The 48th regular session of the Human Rights Council ( HRC48 ) was held from Monday 13 September to Monday 11 October 2021. On 13 September, H.E. Michelle Bachelet presented her global update on the human rights situation around the world, followed by her report on Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and oral updates on Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Sri Lanka. An enhanced …

Environmental Justice, Climate Change and the Right to a Healthy Environment in the Biden Administration

by Professor Dan Magraw, President Emeritus of the Centre for International Environmental Law Blog, Blog, By invitation

28 April 2021 United States President Joe Biden has prioritized achieving environmental justice and combatting climate change, following up on campaign pledges. The Biden Administration’s focus on climate change is evident in early Executive Orders (EOs) [i] and in the April 22 Climate Summit that he convened. President Biden’s focus on environmental justice (EJ) is manifested in the same EOs. He …

Report on the 46th session of the Human Rights Council

by the URG team Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, URG Human Rights Council Reports

Quick summary The 46th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC46) was held from Monday 22nd February to Wednesday 24th March. As it is the main annual session of the Council, HRC46 began with a High-Level Segment (HLS). The 2021 HLS included speeches by 130 States and other dignitaries, including: H.E. Mr Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan, H.E. Mr …

The Escazú Agreement: A landmark regional treaty for environmental defenders

by Zaineb Ali, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The international community eagerly awaits the Escazú Agreement to come into force in early 2021 after having secured 12 ratifications (one more than the minimum required – 11). The Escazú Agreement , which emerged from the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), is the first legally binding instrument in the world to include provisions on environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) …

Brazilian indigenous leaders urge the International Criminal Court to investigate President Jair Bolsonaro over destruction of the Amazon

by Mariana Montoya, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Brazilian indigenous leaders have requested the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to investigate [i] President Jair Bolsonaro for ‘crimes against humanity’, accusing him of unprecedented environmental damage, killings, and persecution. Chief Raoni Metuktire, the leader of the Kayapo people, and Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui, leader of the Paiter Surui tribe, filed the claim at the Hague-based body on 22 …

Norway’s Supreme Court dismisses claim based on the right to a healthy environment and allows new oil exploration in the Arctic

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group and Renata Politi, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 22 December 2020, Norway’s Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the closely followed climate lawsuit based on the constitutional right to a healthy environment, known as the Norwegian Arctic Oil case . The appeal was brought to the Supreme Court by environmental groups that disputed an administrative decision, based on a 2013 legislation, which authorised the administration to grant licences to oil …

The right to a healthy environment gives rise to a growing wave of climate change litigation

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group and Renata Politi, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

In an amicus curiae brief submitted in the Norwegian Artic Oil case currently pending before the Norwegian Supreme Court, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment , David R. Boyd, and UN Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes , Marcos A Orellana, argued that “the justiciability of the right to a healthy environment empowers citizens and civil society, strengthening democratic decision-making and fostering accountability for political decisions. Access to justice is itself a fundamental human right, including in the …