Collective Commitments to Implement Constitutional Right

Section 20 of the Constitution of Finland establishes a right to a healthy environment. Among other things, it places the responsibility for protecting the environment on the collective, stating that “Nature and its biodiversity, the environment and the national heritage are the responsibility of everyone.” A program developed by the Ministry of Environment seeks …   Continue readingCollective Commitments to Implement Constitutional Right

Research on Application of Finland’s Environmental Right

The project partners conducted a research project on the implementation of Section 20 of the Constitution of Finland, which provides, inter alia, that “The public authorities shall endeavour to guarantee for everyone the right to a healthy environment and for everyone the possibility to influence the decisions that concern their own living environment.” This research …   Continue readingResearch on Application of Finland’s Environmental Right

Mexican National Human Rights Commission’s Environmental Actions

In Mexico, the Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH) has played an important part in addressing environmental harms. A constitutional reform in 1999 gave the CNDH full autonomy as an agency with its own budget. The mandate of the CNDH is to “protect, observe, promote, study, and disseminate the human rights protected by the Mexican legal system.” To this …   Continue readingMexican National Human Rights Commission’s Environmental Actions

Decision of the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice: Amparo No. 631/2012 (Independencia Aqueduct)

The Yacqui Tribe from Sonora, Mexico, filed an amparo action against the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT/Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources) concerning the construction of the Independencia aqueduct, which is designed to remove 60 million cubic metres of water from the Yaqui River to supply water to the city of Hermosillo. …   Continue readingDecision of the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice: Amparo No. 631/2012 (Independencia Aqueduct)

Environmental Jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the Philippines

The Philippines’ Constitution includes as a State policy that “[t]he State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.” The first major case the Court decided with regard to this clause was the Minors Oposa case, in which the plaintiffs filed a class action law suit on behalf …   Continue readingEnvironmental Jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the Philippines

Mendoza Beatriz Silva v. National Government of Argentina

Section 41 of Argentina’s Constitution states: “All inhabitants are entitled to the right to a healthy and balanced environment fit for human development in order that productive activities shall meet present needs without endangering those of future generations; and shall have the duty to preserve it. As a first priority, environmental damage shall bring about the …   Continue readingMendoza Beatriz Silva v. National Government of Argentina

Environmental Management Committee (EMC ): A Joint Monitoring Body of Civil Society, Government and the Private Sector in South Africa

In 2008 an Australian company, Coal of Africa (CoAL), applied for a mining right in South Africa on land less than seven kilometres from the boundaries of a UNESCO recognised World Heritage Site called the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape. A civil society organisation called Save Mapungubwe Coalition formed and undertook a wide variety of strategies that included engaging …   Continue readingEnvironmental Management Committee (EMC ): A Joint Monitoring Body of Civil Society, Government and the Private Sector in South Africa

Brazilian Ministerio Publico’s Environmental Actions

Article 225 of the Brazilian Constitution states: “All have the right to an ecologically balanced environment, which is an asset of common use and essential to a healthy quality of life, and both the Government and the community shall have the duty to defend and preserve it for present and future generations.” The 1988 Brazilian Constitution provides the Ministerio …   Continue readingBrazilian Ministerio Publico’s Environmental Actions

National Human Rights Commission of Thailand: Koh Kong Sugar Plantation Case

The National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT) received a complaint in January 2010 from Community Legal Education Center (CLEC), a Cambodia-based organisation, regarding alleged human rights violations in the Koh Kong sugar cane plantation in Cambodia. The allegations included that a Thai company, through its Cambodian subsidiaries, acted unlawfully. Alleged …   Continue readingNational Human Rights Commission of Thailand: Koh Kong Sugar Plantation Case

The Proliferation of Constitutional Rights to Environment

Constitutional rights to a healthy environment are recognized in many national constitutions, with over 90 national constitutions recognizing some form of the right since the mid-1970s. About two-thirds of the constitutional rights refer to health and one-quarter refer to the right in terms of an ecologically balanced environment; alternative formulations include rights …   Continue readingThe Proliferation of Constitutional Rights to Environment

Amparo Cause of Action and the Principle of Intereses Difusos in Costa Rica

Article 48 of the Costa Rican Constitution provides for the remedy of amparo in order to maintain or re-establish the enjoyment of rights set out in the Constitution, as well as those of a fundamental nature established in international human rights treaties enforceable in Costa Rica. The amparo cause of action has been construed very broadly, to allow …   Continue readingAmparo Cause of Action and the Principle of Intereses Difusos in Costa Rica

The Environmental Jurisprudence of Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Chamber of the Costa Rican Supreme Court has actively implemented the constitutional right to a healthy environment. Since 1995, much of the case law of the Constitutional Chamber has concerned the application of article 50 of the Costa Rican Constitution, which sets forth the right to a healthy environment. The Constitutional Chamber has defined the …   Continue readingThe Environmental Jurisprudence of Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court

Costa Rican Ombudsperson’s Environmental Actions

he Office of the Ombudsperson is an independent body of the Costa Rican Legislature, which has the general responsibility of protecting the rights and interests of Costa Ricans by ensuring that the public sector meets standards set by the Constitution, statutes, conventions, treaties and general principles of law, as well as standards of morality and justice. It has the …   Continue readingCosta Rican Ombudsperson’s Environmental Actions