Arabic | Chinese | Español | Français

Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment (former Independent Expert on human rights and the environment)

Introduction


HR and Environment © EPA/JIM LO SCALZO
The bottom of a Celery Bog is exposed to the sun as water levels in the wetlands plummet in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA, 21 July 2012.
© EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

All human beings depend on the environment in which we live.  A safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is integral to the full enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, including the rights to life, health, food, water and sanitation.  Without a healthy environment, we are unable to fulfil our aspirations or even live at a level commensurate with minimum standards of human dignity.  At the same time, protecting human rights helps to protect the environment.  When people are able to learn about, and participate in, the decisions that affect them, they can help to ensure that those decisions respect their need for a sustainable environment. 

In recent years, the recognition of the links between human rights and the environment has greatly increased.  The number and scope of international and domestic laws, judicial decisions, and academic studies on the relationship between human rights and the environment have grown rapidly. 

Many States now incorporate a right to a healthy environment in their constitutions.  Many questions about the relationship of human rights and the environment remain unresolved, however, and require further examination. 

As a result, in March 2012 the Human Rights Council decided to establish a mandate on human rights and the environment, which will (among other tasks) study the human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and promote best practices relating to the use of human rights in environmental policymaking. 

Mr. John Knox was appointed in August 2012 to a three-year term as the first Independent Expert on human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. His mandate was further extended in March 2015 for another three years as a Special Rapporteur.

Info note - mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment (EN, ES, FR)

Latest news:


More press releases and statements....

Archived news
(over 3 years old)

Announcements

Human Rights Council appoints David R. Boyd as the next Special Rapporteur

Report on children’s rights and the environment A/HRC/37/58 
(Child-friendly version E F S A C R)

Special Rapporteur

Mr. David R. Boyd
since August 2018
Contact: 
srenvironment@ohchr.org

Former Special Rapporteur

Mr. John Knox
(August 2012-July 2018)

Newsletter subscription

Please email srenvironment@ohchr.org with the title "Subscription" to receive the Special Rapporteur's newsletter.

Click here to access newsletters.

Latest video

Protecting Environment is also a human right - Transcript (Word)