Human rights and international environmental law: Towards the development of an international environmental right?
Motloung, Tebogo Wilfred
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The global state of the environment is deteriorating daily because of challenges posed by environmental degradation, including climate change. In recognition of the mounting global environmental crisis and its detrimental impact on the enjoyment of human rights, there is a growing call for the recognition of what is generally referred to as a human right to a clean environment, otherwise referred to in this study as an international environmental right. Proponents of an international environmental right hold a firm view that such a right will prevent or mitigate actions that are responsible for environmental degradation and thus contribute to environmental protection. This study seeks to determine the nature of the relationship between the environment and human rights and whether the proposal for the recognition of an international environmental right to address global environmental concerns that pose a threat to the enjoyment of human rights has merit. In determining the viability of recognising an international environmental right, a number of theories underpinning the recognition of new international human rights, the status of the right in existing international human rights agreements, political willingness and support of states, the notion of global constitutionalism, customary international law sources such as soft law instruments, international declarations etc., are considered.