Air Pollution in a Human Rights Perspective Ought Air Pollution be seen through a Human Rights Lens? Facts: health issues and number of deaths source: blog.thomsonreuters.com Europe Facts: how air is polluted, health issues and number of deaths • • • • • Air is polluted via the introduction of chemicals and particles into the atmosphere, such as carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, ozone and lead. Air pollution is a significant factor in the cause of health issues including nausea, respiratory infections, skin infections, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. Air pollution is responsible for 7,000,000 deaths a year, or 1 in 8 deaths worldwide, according to a 2014 report by the World Health Organisation. Across the European Union, air pollution is expected to reduce life expectancy by 9 months. India is worst affected by air pollution, with more premature deaths attributable to asthma than any other nation. What are ‘Human Rights’? • • Human rights are rights held by individuals simply because they are part of the human species. They are “commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled”. • Human rights are universal and egalitarian. • They are protected in national and international law. Air Pollution, Acid Rain and it’s transboundary effects How could air pollution be viewed through a Human Rights lens? I) Explicit Human Rights to “Environmental quality” II) “Greening” of existing Human Rights I) Explicit Human Rights to “Environmental quality” 1972 Stockholm Declaration - Pr.1 Uncommon African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights • • • o o Art. 24 Ogoniland Case II) “Greening of existing Human Rights • Interpretation of existing Treaty Rights o ECHR, American Convention on Human Rights etc. • o Living instruments • o Right to life, health, private life, property “in the light of current conditions” Negative and positive state duties ❖ Using existing human rights to compel governments to consider environmental rights • Lopez-Ostra v. Spain, ECHR (1994), Series A, No. 303C ● Guerra and Others v. Italy, 1998-1 ECHR (1998) • Taskin v. Turkey, ECHR (2004) • Fadeyeva v. Russia, ECHR (2005) ❖ Complaint No. 30/2005 Marangopoulos v. Greece, ECSR : The explicit recognition of the “right to a healthy environment” • • • Facts : Before the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR), the international non-governmental organisation, Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights (“MFHR”), maintained that Greece had failed to comply with some Articles of the Charter because in the areas where lignite is mined, the state had not taken sufficient account of the environmental effects or developed an appropriate strategy to prevent and combat public health risks.. Questions before ECS: whether the pollution was a violation of the charter — speciﬁcally, of the right to health (Art. 11 Charter) or of the right to just conditions of work (Art. 2(4) Charter) and the right to safe and healthy working conditions (Art. 3 Charter) Committee’s reasoning: Explicit recognition of the “ right to a healthy environment ” as embodied in the right to health and linked to the right to life under the ECHR. In ﬁnding that Greece violated this right by failing to ﬁ ght air pollution, the committee relied on a wide range of internationally recognized environmental standards, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 5 the Kyoto Protocol, 6 and various provisions and EU Directives. Ought air pollution be regulated through human rights? ❖ First approach → Abolishment of the whole concept of linking environmental and human rights ❖ Second approach → Adopting a specific human right to clean air ❖ Third approach → Greening of existing rights under the ECHR Ought air pollution be regulated through human rights? First approach → Abolishment of the whole concept of linking environmental and human rights Redundancy of the linkage Ought air pollution be regulated through human rights? First approach → Abolishment of the whole concept of linking environmental and human rights Effectiveness → Transboundary events and the tragedy of the commons Ought air pollution be regulated through human rights? Second approach → Adopting a specific human right to clean air ❖ What should a right to clean air entail? ❖ How should it be interpreted? Ought air pollution be regulated through human rights? Third approach → Greening of existing rights under the ECHR ❖ Evolutionary interpretation of existing greened rights ❖ A solution to the standing problem? Ought air pollution be regulated through human rights? Not the environment itself, but humans are in the center of a human rights approach → What about future generations then?