Can the Human Rights Bodies be Used to Produce Interim Measures to Protect Environment-Related Human Rights?

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Abstract

International environmental law does not protect individuals as such. On the other hand, human rights do not formally encompass the right to a healthy environment. This article argues that human rights bodies are suitable forums to protect environment-related human rights. They can do so by producing interim measures to prevent States’ actions or inactions towards the environment from infringing on human rights, even if the harmful character of those actions is uncertain. It is demonstrated that the recourse to the precautionary principle is possible to achieve such anticipatory protection and is supported by recent developments in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the International Court of Justice. In particular, the article shows that human rights bodies can develop interrelationships and interdependency between rights of different normative values in different areas of international law that will lead to equitable interim measures prescribing positive obligations that are reasonable and appropriate.

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