Environmental human rights

Authored by: Richard P. Hiskes

Handbook of Human Rights

Print publication date:  September  2011
Online publication date:  February  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415480239
eBook ISBN: 9780203887035
Adobe ISBN: 9781134019083


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The prospect of human rights relating to the environment currently enjoys, somewhat ironically, more standing in human rights treaties, many national constitutions, and international agreements than it does among human rights theorists. Among scholars the whole concept of environmental human rights remains fraught, considered a third-generation right that crosses too many conceptual boundaries and requires resolutions of too many philosophical disputes before it can be acknowledged. Several scholars have presented arguments for environmental human rights, including Hancock (2003), Hayward (2005), Hiskes (2005, 2009), Nickel (1993), Picoloti and Tallant (2003), and Weiss (1989). Nevertheless, because environmental human rights – if they do exist – presume duties that cross borders both temporally and geographically, the philosophical and legal cases for their reality remain unpersuasive for many, and in practice their promise remains unfulfilled.

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