UN General Assembly declares healthy environment a Human Right
Recently the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has declared access to a clean and healthy environment as a universal human right.
India has voted in favor of a resolution of the General Assembly. This resolution accords human rights status to the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
The resolution also recognizes that the right to a healthy environment is in line with existing international law.
It also reaffirms that its dissemination requires the full implementation of multilateral environmental agreements. This resolution is not legally binding. It is not included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
Earlier in the year 2021, a resolution was passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. The resolution recognizes access to a healthy and sustainable environment as a universal right.
The Stockholm United Nations Environment Conference held in 1972 concluded with a resolution to take environmental issues at the global level.
Importance of resolution
- It will help reduce environmental injustice and discrimination in conservation.
- It will empower people, especially those living in risky situations. These include environmental human rights defenders, children, youth, women and indigenous peoples.
- This resolution is important to tackle the triple threat of the Earth, namely climate change, loss of biodiversity and pollution.
- It will help countries expedite the implementation of their environmental and human rights obligations and commitments.
Constitutional provisions relating to environment and human rights
- Article 21: It guarantees the fundamental right to life. It also includes the right to an environment free from the threat of disease and infection.
- Article 48A: The State shall protect and improve the environment and shall endeavor to protect the forests and wildlife of the country.
- Article 51A (g): It is the duty of every Indian citizen to protect and improve the natural environment.
Source – The Hindu