Global Witness Releases Report on the Deaths of Environmental Human Rights Defenders

Global Witness published a report that focuses on the killing of Environmental Human Rights Defenders and the sharp increase in those deaths since 2002. The report highlights the deadly nature of protecting the environment and the inherit problems in collecting data of this manner. The report states that of the 908 murders from the years of 2002 to 2013, only 10 perpetrators have been tried and convicted. Continue reading »

Costa Rica Country Report, Summer 2013

The Independent Expert wrote his first country report following a visit to Costa Rica from 28 July to 1 August 2013. During the visit, Professor Knox looked at the how Costa Rica was implementing human rights related to the environment, identified good practices, and examined the challenges related to human rights and the environment. Continue reading »

Side Event on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations

On March 11, Independent Expert, John Knox, spoke at a Side Event on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations in Geneva. He emphasized that there is no doubt that environmental harm as a result of the activities of transnational corporations negatively affects human rights. Knox spoke of States' obligations and explored the difficulty with corporations acting outside a State's territory. Continue reading »

The Independent Expert’s Report to the Human Rights Council

On March 11, the Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment, John Knox, gave a report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva outlining the mapping report completed in the last year and his plans for the upcoming final year of the mandate. Continue reading »

Annual Report to the Human Rights Council

On March 10, the Independent Expert presents his annual report to the Human Rights Council. The report maps human rights obligations relating to the environment, on the basis of an extensive review of global and regional sources. The Independent Expert describes procedural obligations of States to assess environmental impacts on human rights and to make environmental information public, to facilitate participation in environmental decision-making, and to provide access to remedies for environmental harm. He describes States’ substantive obligations to adopt legal and institutional frameworks that protect against environmental harm that interferes with the enjoyment of human rights, including harm caused by private actors. Finally, he outlines obligations relating to the protection of members of groups in vulnerable situations, including women, children and indigenous peoples. Continue reading »

Individual Mapping Reports on Human Rights and the Environment

Over the last year, the Independent Expert has overseen a research project to map the human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The conclusions of the project are presented in the report to the Human Rights Council presented on 10 March 2014. The details of the research are contained in a series of 14 reports, each of which describes the relevant statements of a particular source or set of sources, including UN human rights treaty bodies, other UN bodies and mechanisms such as the Human Rights Council and its special rapporteurs, regional human rights systems, and international environmental instruments. To see those reports, click on the link. Continue reading »

Yale Conference on Human Rights and Environmental Sustainability

Yale University, together with UNITAR and other partners, is holding a conference September 5-7 on the relationship of human rights and environmental sustainability. The Call for Abstracts is at the link. Note that the deadline for abstracts is April 1! Continue reading »

February 2014 Newsletter

The sixth newsletter on the work of the Independent Expert describes the principal conclusions of the report to be presented to the Human Rights Council on 10 March. The report maps the obligations of States under human rights law relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. Continue reading »

December 2013 Newsletter

This newsletter describes the recent actions of the Independent Expert on human rights and the environment, including statements to meetings in Boston, Copenhagen, and Lima. The newsletter also outlines future consultations in South Africa and Thailand. Continue reading »

The Human Rights Basis for the Environmental Pillar of Sustainable Development

On 12 December 2013, John Knox spoke at a Side Event at the sixth session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development. He described three ways that a human rights perspective contributes to environmental protection, one of the pillars of sustainable development. Continue reading »