montage of UN Human Rights Commission meeting

Human Right to safe, clean, sustainable environment

World Wetland Network has joined civil society organizations, Indigenous Peoples, social movements and local communities to sign a letter addressed to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), calling on them to recognize without delay the human right of all to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

Human rights and environmental international law share fundamental principles. Both recognize a “do no harm” principle

The letter points out that governments and UN activities have recognised the legal rights to a healthy environment; but that there is a gap that can be filled in international human rights law that the HRC can fill.

More than two years ago, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment presented the Framework Principles on Human Rights and the Environment to the Human Rights Council, illustrating the basis and the widespread acceptance of the right to a healthy environment throughout the world.
Such widespread developments demonstrate that the time is ripe for the universal recognition of this right.

As the pre-eminent inter-governmental human rights body, with the mandate to
strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and to prevent and
address human rights violations, the Human Rights Council has a unique responsibility to
urgently address and prevent the serious threats to human rights posed by environmental
degradation. Therefore, consistent with the Council's vital role in normative development, we
urge all States to support the swift passage of resolutions at the Human Rights Council recognizing
that we all have the right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.

Read the complete letter. Also available in Arabic, French, and Spanish. Other organizations interested in supporting the call can take part here.

The HRC meets for its 45th session next week.

Photo credit: UN HRC on Twitter.

Update: read the summary on the question by the UN Special Rapporteur after the UN HRC session.