Human Right to Environment in Declarations and ICJ Judgement

The World Charter on Nature (1982) explicitly referred to the right of access to information and the right to participate in environmental decision-making. A decade after the proclamation of that Charter, in 1992, the Rio Declaration acknowledged the right to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature and the right of access to environmental information and of public participation in environmental decision-making. Judge Weeramantry of the International Court of Justice in his separate opinion in the case of Gabcikovo-Nagymaros (Hungary v Slovakia [1997] ICJ Rep.7) expressly stated that the protection of the environment is a vital part of contemporary human rights doctrine, for it is sine qua non for numerous human rights such as the right to health and the right to life itself as damage to the environment can impair and undermine all the human rights spoken of in the Universal Declaration and other human rights instruments.

Dr. Ayaz Ahmad, Associate Professor, Unitedworld School of Law (UWSL)

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