Environment and human rights
Human rights and the environment are interdependent. Living in an unhealthy environment may result in violations of human rights; conversely, respect for human rights is vital for the protection of the environment. Environmental degradation and human suffering are therefore flip sides of the same coin.
The right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment has been recognised at the global level by the Human Rights Council in October 2021 and the UN General Assembly in a resolution passed in July 2022. The majority of member states of the Council of Europe have already recognised various forms of this right in their national laws. The Council of Europe has an important role in helping member states prevent violations of this right and in upholding the organisation’s human rights standards with regard to environmental protection.
Environmental human rights defenders and journalists demanding better environmental protection and more decisive action against climate change are increasingly targeted by attacks, reprisals and restrictions in Europe today. It is high time that governments in Europe took their responsibilities vis-à-vis the environment and environmental human rights defenders seriously. Europe should be a safe place for environmental activism.
Environmental Rights Activism and Advocacy in Europe: Issues, Threats, Opportunities
“Environmental protection is a critical pillar in ensuring that everyone in Europe can fully enjoy human rights,” the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, said today upon the release of a report on a round-table with environmental human rights defenders from across...
- European Court of Human Rights factsheet: Environment and the European Convention on Human Rights
- Council of Europe HELP online course: “The Environment and Human Rights”
- Council of Europe COMPASS: "Manual for Human Rights Education with Young People, Human Rights and the Environment"
- Human rights and the environment, a priority for the Council of Europe
- Council of Europe theme file: Protecting the environment using human rights law
- Council of Europe: Impact of the European Convention on Human Rights
- Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe:
- Resolution 2415 on inaction on climate change - a violation of children's rights
- Resolution 2396 (2021) on a healthy environment: need for enhanced action by the Council of Europe
- Resolution 2397 (2021) on a more participatory democracy to tackle climate change
- Resolution 2398 (2021) on addressing issues of criminal and civil liability in the context of climate change
- Resolution 2399 (2021) on the climate crisis and the rule of law
- Resolution 2400 (2021) on combating inequalities in the right to a safe, healthy and clean environment
- Resolution 2401 (2021) on climate and migration
- Resolution 2402 (2021) on research policies and environment protection
- Resolution 2210 on climate change and implementation of the Paris Agreement
- Resolution 2286 on air pollution: a challenge for public health in Europe
- Resolution 2307 on a legal status for “climate refugees”
- CM recommendation on human rights and the protection of the environment