About human rights and the environment
All human beings depend on the environment in which we live. A safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is integral to the full enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, including the rights to life, health, food, water and sanitation.
Without a healthy environment, we are unable to fulfil our aspirations. We may not have access to even the minimum standards of human dignity.
Protecting human rights protects the environment
In recent years, the recognition of the links between human rights and the environment has greatly increased. The number and scope of international and domestic laws, judicial decisions, and academic studies on the relationship between human rights and the environment are growing rapidly.
The human rights and the environment mandate, created in March 2012 and extended in 2018, examines the human rights obligations as they relate to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. It also promotes best practices relating to the use of human rights in environmental policymaking.
Many States now incorporate a right to a healthy environment in their constitutions. Yet many questions about the relationship of human rights and the environment remain unanswered and require further examination.