Commission welcomes UN Human Rights Council recognition of right to healthy environment
Right to healthy environment recognised by United Nations as Commission welcomes “important and much needed milestone”
The Scottish Human Rights Commission welcomes today’s landmark resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council, recognising the universal human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
The resolution was approved by the Human Rights Council today at its 48th session in Geneva. It follows longstanding calls by hundreds of international civil society organisations, social movements, local communities and Indigenous Peoples, given the need for a global approach to the environmental crisis.
While the right to a healthy environment had already been recognised by a majority of states around the world in their constitutions, legislation and various regional treaties, this resolution now gives the right much needed international recognition.
The move is of particular importance in Scotland as the Scottish Government prepares to introduce a new Human Rights Bill for Scotland, which will enshrine the right to a healthy environment – alongside many others – into Scotland’s domestic law. International recognition of this right will further strengthen the ways in which legislation in Scotland can develop in line with internationally agreed standards.
Barbara Bolton is Head of Legal and Policy for the Scottish Human Rights Commission. She comments:
“The United Nations’ recognition of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment marks an important and much needed milestone.
“A healthy environment is essential to realising the right to life and all of our other human rights. International recognition of this right sends a strong message to governments around the globe about the need for urgent action in addressing the triple crises of climate change, pollution and nature loss.
“Closer to home, we have welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to incorporating the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment in a new Human Rights Bill for Scotland, and will continue to work with them to make this right real and meaningful.”
Notes to editors:
- The full text of the Human Rights Council resolution which was passed on Friday 8th October will be published by the United Nations when amendments have been incorporated.
- The Commission’s 2020 statement to the Human Rights Council on the right to a healthy environment.
- The Commission’s statement welcoming the latest Programme for Government which includes details of the new Human Rights Bill for Scotland.