Environmental protection is “Not just about environmental harm, but rights — human rights.”

The good folks of Morning Glory Coffee and Tea Inc. tweeted the link to this article over the weekend and we’re glad they did: John Knox, the United Nations Independent Expert on human rights and the environment, aligned environmental issues with human rights.

In growing recognition of the linkages between human rights and the environment, the UN Human Rights Council established a mandate in early 2012 to “study the human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and promote best practices relating to the use of human rights in environmental policymaking. ”

John Knox

Knox was appointed by the UN Human Rights   Council in July 2012.  His background here.

From his remarks to the Globe Ministerial Environmental Forum last week:

  • “When governments around the world fail to restrict emissions of greenhouse gases, jeopardizing the continued existence of, among others, vulnerable communities in the Arctic and in low-lying coastal areas, they fail to protect many human rights, including rights to life, health, property, and development.”
  • “Human rights and the environment are not only interrelated, they are also interdependent. A healthy environment is fundamentally important to the enjoyment of human rights, and the exercise of human rights is necessary for a healthy environment.”
  • “Human rights to freedom of expression and association, to information, to participation in decision-making, and to remedies, must be protected, at both the national and the international level. Human rights law must be taken into account in developing environmental governance.”

Knox will present his report to the Human Rights Council in March that chronicles the evolution of environmental rights and identifies issues he’ll be exploring.

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