A human right, in general, the rights of human beings. If the environment does not exist then human will not exist because all humans depend on the environment which gives right to live, food, water, sanitation, air, a land so it shows that human rights are the rights of human living in an environment or indirectly human right are environment rights. Life, culture, society are fundamental parts of human and if environment destroyed then it also destroy our culture, society. Human rights and environmental law created separately but they have a very close relation. Not only human rights but civil, political, social, economic rights all play an effective role in a sound environment. As they progress and development of the world increase, day by day because of science and technology, industries, nuclear power deteriorate the environment. Now environment right urged as major human rights and government, a non-government organization both at national and international levels put all their efforts to protect the environment.
Definition of Environment Laws
It is the collection of various rules and regulations, the agreement that governs how a particular human interaction with the environment. Its purpose is to protect the environment and provide directions for how humans use natural resources. It keeps checking on pollution, forest protection, animals, marine life.
It deals with three areas-:
Right to clean and safe environment- Mostly all the organization support this idea of providing a clean and safe environment. These are interpreted in various ways by various countries because they are very general in meaning.
The right to act to protect the environment- To act positively by taking part in various schemes related to the environment is its aim. This right is under threat in many nations.
Right to information participate in decision-making- Every country citizens participate in decision making for making rules in their own ways according to their own culture but there are some commonalities also.
Role of International Conventions in Environment Law
There were various conventions occurred at international level when the need arises to protect the environment such as:-
Stockholm Declaration (1972)-
First relation between environment and human rights established in 1972 on the international level held in Stockholm. Principle 1 of Stockholm Declaration stated, “Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations”. After this United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) set up.
Rio Declaration (1992)-
In Rio de Janerio an environment conference held at a global level known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) or the Earth Summit. It focuses on three agreements-:
Principle 1 stated that ‘Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature’ Principle 4 says ‘In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it.
Principle 10 deal with public participation in decision making and access to justice in environmental matters.
World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002)-
It was held in Johannesburg. Its main idea is to achieve sustainable development then respect for human right and environment is essential. Its main focuses on the rule of law, gender equality, democratic society, good governance and public participation in decision making for environment protection.
United Nation General Assembly Summit (2010)-
In this conference, safe clean drinking water and sanitation became the part of human rights. It declared that the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.”
Indian Laws Relating to Environment and Human Rights
In our India chapter on fundamental duties of Indian Constitution imposed duties on citizens to protect the environment.
Article 48A– it comes under the Directive Principle of State Policy. It says that “the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country”. This Article imposed a duty on the State to protect the environment from pollution by adopting various measures.
Article 51A(g)– It states that “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures”. This article is similar to Article 48A, the only difference is it is the fundamental duty of citizens whereas Article 48A is the duty of the State to protect the environment.
Part 3 of the Indian Constitution give fundamental right which is essential for the development of human being and without which human is alone. Right to the environment is also necessary for the development of human being. Article 21- It states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.” This Article interpreted in various cases by judiciary for protection of the environment. In M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India, Supreme court stated that the right to live includes living in a pollution-free environment. And it is also free from diseases.
It is said that where there is a right, there is a duty and it is the right of a human to use environment for their purpose and it happens also but it is a duty also to work for the environment and at that time human become silent. The human right only is protected when our environment is protected and when environment suffer then human also suffer because of the close relation of both.
Demand for the pollution-free environment within the scope of human right emerged as larger extent by the countries of the south against the industrialized north countries because their economic growth based on large disposal of waste materials in air, water and land which is a clear breach of the fundamental right of poor countries.
Now it is a very urgent need to take some strict action for environmental protection and to protect natural resources. If we want to protect our environment then we have to be duty toward not right.
“The views of the authors are personal“
Frequently Asked Questions
What is meant by Sustainable Development?
Sustainable Development means to fulfil the needs of the present without compromising the of future generations to meet their own need or to build a new community in the undeveloped area without destroying the environment or ecosystem.
What problem faced by the environment nowadays?
There are various problems faced by the environment nowadays such as global warming, acid rain, climate change problem, ozone depletion, water pollution and waste disposal etc.