UN: Recognition of the right to a healthy environment is a milestone in the battle against the climate crisis

Responding to the Human Rights Council’s adoption of a resolution recognizing the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, Amnesty International’s Law and Policy Director Ashfaq Khalfan said:

“This resolution brings hope in the context of widespread and increasing climate disasters, and is a milestone moment in the battle against environmental degradation. With the adoption of this resolution, the HRC has finally acknowledged that the enjoyment of human rights depends on the environment we live in. When the planet suffers, so do we, and all over the world environmental degradation is robbing people of their rights.

“Government failures to protect the planet, and the ongoing support for environmentally destructive industries, amount to an assault on human rights on a massive scale. We welcome the long-overdue adoption of this resolution, and now call on states to ensure it translates into real change by recognizing this right in law at a national level, and by strengthening their environmental laws and policies.

“We also welcome the adoption today of the resolution establishing the mandate of a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change. Both resolutions are the result of continued efforts of a broad range of state and non-state actors, including human rights defenders from all over the world. They will both make it easier for the UN to support states in improving their performance on environmental issues.”