As Victor Hugo famously said, it is impossible to resist an idea whose time has come. The interdependence of human rights and the environment is an idea whose time is here.

So says the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment in his report outlining framework principles that he will urge the Human Rights Council to adopt later this year.

The principles will require signatory States to:

  • Ensure a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment in order to respect, protect and fulfil human rights.
  • Respect, protect and fulfil human rights in order to ensure a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
  • Respect and protect the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in relation to environmental matters.
  • Provide for education and public awareness on environmental matters.
  • Provide public access to environmental information by collecting and disseminating information and by providing affordable, effective and timely access to information to any person upon request.
  • Require the prior assessment of possible environmental impacts of proposed projects and policies.
  • Provide for and facilitate public participation in decision-making related to the environment, and take the views of the public into account in the decision-making process.
  • Establish and maintain substantive environmental standards that are non-discriminatory, non-retrogressive and otherwise respect, protect and fulfil human rights.
  • Ensure effective enforcement of environmental standards
  • Protect the rights of those who are most vulnerable to, or at particular risk from, environmental harm.
  • Ensure obligations to indigenous peoples and members of traditional communities are met.

Click here to read the full report and commentary on the Framework Principles.

Stay tuned for details of an upcoming EDO Tas event discussing human rights, nature rights and economic values approaches to environmental protection.

Human rights + env