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The Implicit Constitutional Right to Live in a Healthy Environment



The right to a healthy environment has rapidly gained constitutional protection around the world. In at least twenty countries, recognition of the right to a healthy environment first occurred through court decisions determining that it is implicit in other constitutional provisions, primarily the right to life. The right is now recognized explicitly in the constitutions of 90 countries spanning Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, and is recognized as an implicit and enforceable constitutional right in at least twelve additional countries. The decisions of international courts and tribunals provide further support for concluding that the right to life necessarily includes the right to a healthy environment.