Human rights and the environment

Making the connections

Authored by: Anna Riddell

Routledge Handbook of Environment and Society in Asia

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415659857
eBook ISBN: 9781315774862
Adobe ISBN: 9781317685715


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Environmental law consists of a body of complex interlocking rules, agreements and treaties that operate to regulate the interaction of humanity and the rest of the natural or physical environment. Its goal is to reduce the impact of human activity both on the natural environment and on humanity itself. Similarly, human rights law also strives to create better living conditions for the human population of the earth. Environmental protection can, in fact, be a method of fulfilling human rights standards, given that allowing the degradation of physical environments can contribute directly to infringements of the human rights to life, health and livelihood of their inhabitants. A system of environmental protection thus helps ensure the well-being of future generations, as well as protecting vulnerable groups who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods, including indigenous or economically marginalized groups. Similarly, human rights standards can help to achieve conservation and environmental protection, as will be seen below.

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