TOWARDS THE EMERGENCE OF ENVIRONMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS? A discussion of the relevance of the right to a safe and healthy environment
This dissertation focuses on the link between human rights and the environment and the emergence of environmental human rights in the form of an individual, substantive, third generation right to a safe and healthy environment. It aims at formulating a working definition of the right to a safe and healthy environment (RSHE). To do so, I first discuss the theoretical relationship between human rights and environmental concerns and the key issues arising from diverse sources (such as academic debates, international law and human rights documents, etc.) when discussing the nature and content of the right to a safe and healthy environment. Then, I analyze the feasibility and the relevance of its legal recognition in the European context, thanks to a case-study aiming at assessing to what extent environmental protection is embedded in the European Court of Human Rights' jurisprudence. The analytical discussion is based on a general content analysis and I build the case-study on Yin's methodology. My main material are theories and the review of literature, as well as legal cases with an environmental component submitted to the European Court of Human Rights. This study concludes that the nature and content of the RSHE are highly debated, even among its defenders, and that it is rather a principle of interpretation of existing fundamental rights by the Court, than a new human right recognized as such. Believing that the European Convention on Human Rights is a “living instrument” and that the growing interactions between human rights and environmental concerns are moving towards the recognition of environmental human rights, I present my own contribution to the general development of human rights by suggesting a working definition of the right to a safe and healthy environment and practical guidelines on how to implement it in the European context.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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