Interlinkages between Environmental and Human right law

Essay, 2014

10 Pages, Grade: 2,0



The links between human rights and environmental law is not very obvious initially. At first glance, it is difficult to see what could possibly tie freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press to that of climate control. When examining the human rights issues to environmental concerns, it is readily apparent that one impacts the other. Meaning, there is an obvious connection.

Human rights globally are basically the acknowledgement by government or non-government entities that humans have the right to exist and that right needs to be protected. A human’s place of existence is his or her surroundings or environment. So, it follows reasonably that the lack of any means by which a human can exist or any diminishment of environmental resources necessary to continue to exist in his or her environment would be a violation of a human right so the environment must be protected. Using climate change as an example since it seems to get the most attention and changing most quickly internationally the international law link gets a little clearer.

But that is just the tip of the quickly-melting iceberg. Officially making this lawful association between these two areas opens the door for a plethora of proposed guidelines, interpretations of guidelines, challenges, lawsuits, civil rights actions, enforcement, etc. With expansion or new associations or combinations of previously disassociated areas, activity revolving around these new frontiers will undoubtedly continue to grow. Environmental human rights cover a lot of areas, so, for the sake of clarity and, hopefully, understandability, the focus here will be on climate control. In addition, the impact climate control has had, is having, and will have on human rights issues are monumental and deserve the extra attention.[1]

The following sections will attempt to first extract the issue of climate control from human environmental rights law so a manageable issue can be analyzed as it relates to international human environmental rights law. Next, international regulations and guidelines will be discussed, including the challenges of making any law global between different cultures, demographics and environment. Next, in the Global Procedures section, the processes implemented to enforce and/or resolve the regulations and guidelines are addressed. Finally will be discussed the overview of the citizens ’of the world’s perception of human environment rights international laws along with, specifically, climate control.

Global Warming + Global Warning = Global Awareness

As mentioned above, there are many aspects of the environment that can be considered overwhelming and unpredictable when the frequency of said environmental changes fluctuate and influenced by the location of the occurrence, or externally impacted by humans, other natural disasters. Climate control encompasses it all, which, again, is why the focus here. Currently and historically, climate control is a world-wide hot button surrounded by much debate about its existence, continuity and whether or not there is any measurable harm from it. Climate control is nothing other than a natural evolvement of the planet and atmosphere but it is creating environmental difficulties, which in turn affect residents wherever those difficulties are occurring.[2]

Some of the side effects of climate control have direct, and sometimes devastating, effects on people’s environment.[3] People in the low lying areas or areas dependent on bodies of water are the ones being affected the most right now. Their water sources are getting smaller and smaller making access to water difficult.[4] The footnote to this union between environment and human rights is that while environmental and human rights organizations are stepping up to the table aiming to protect both areas, it is complicated to figure out just who does what and where. In other words, global guidelines would be necessary to ensure preservation in areas where currently it was left up to the country to protect whatever that particular state believes to be its resources – regardless of what was happening anywhere else in the world.[5] So, the result is the combined area of regulations herein referred to as human environmental rights international law.

For example, there is a known risk for potential harm climate control may cause based on the harms inflected upon individuals so far. But, how much faith does the world have in projections and to what extent are individuals protected under what-if scenarios? Fortunately, although relatively new, there are several international organizations (IOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which have undertaken the task to clarify and oversee this issue, which is still a new idea to many people around the world. The International Council on Human Rights Policy, The Centre for International Environmental Law and The Mary Robinson Foundation all contribute to keeping climate control, along with other human environmental international law on the world’s agenda.[6]


[1] cf. Marcos A. Orellana, Miloon Kothari and Shivani Chaudhry: Climate change in the work of the committee on economic, social and cultural rights, Geneva Office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung 2010, p.4, URL:, last downloaded 01.04.2014

[2] see ibid.,p.5

[3] see ibid., p.5

[4] see ibid., p.4

[5] see ibid., p.10-12

[6] cf. Human Rights and Climate Change: EU policy options, Belgium: Directorate-General for External Policies, 2012, p. 15-17, URL:, last downloaded 01.04.2014

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Interlinkages between Environmental and Human right law
Ruhr-University of Bochum
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Human right law, Environmental law, Interlinkages between Environmental and Human right law
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Maryna Dorash (Author), 2014, Interlinkages between Environmental and Human right law, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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