Briefing N° 21: Human Rights and the Environment

Human Rights and the Environment explores the implications of the recently recognized right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, with a focus on the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) and the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

The historic recognition of the right to a healthy environment has important implications for the relationship between human rights and the content of both international environmental law and human rights law.

Although recently recognized, the right to a healthy environment is not new. Its content has been discussed in various national, regional and international instruments and jurisprudence. The work of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment has examined these sources and is an important guide in clarifying the content and scope of the right.

This publication, by giving an overview of the relationship between human rights and the environment, examining the meaning of the right to a healthy environment and the implications of its recognition, and by considering the relationship between human rights and the environment in HRC and UNGA resolutions contributes to clarifying the content and scope of this right.

The main findings and recommendations entailed in this publication are summarized in a Research Brief aimed at policy-makers who negotiate resolutions at the HRC and UNGA.

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Our new publication Human Rights and the Environment explores the implications of the recently recognised right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, with a focus on the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly.

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