We apologise if at some point we do not regularly update you here on news, but we are continuously busy on setting up strategic alliances on human rights and the environment and human rights and climate change.We encourage you to visit the main website of the UN Independent Expert, John Knox, to stay updated on developments at the UN level on human rights and the environment (incl. climate change).

October 2014

Envoking human rights to realize sustainable development, environmental protection and access to safe drinking water is a road that is travelled by more each year!
Have a look at these two 2014 Human Rights Council Resolutions on

Human Rights and Climate Change (A/HRC/26/L.33)

The human right to safe drinking water and sanitation (A/HRC/27/L.11)


October 2014, adding to the September 2013 News

Great News! is no longer the only resource for Regional Case Law / Decisions: Have a look at IE John Knox's site:

And spread the word!


February 2013

Did you know that currently

• Over 75 constitutions explicitly recognize a ‘right to environment’ for individuals, groups, or communities in some form or other;

• Atlernatively, 60 constitutions affirm that individuals have a ‘duty’ to protect the environment;

• Of which 27 constitutions explicitly recognize this duty as related to a ‘right to environment’;

• Additionally, 22 constitutions recognize rights or duties of environmental protection towards future generations;

• Of which 10 constitutions explicitly link such rights or duties to a constitutional ‘right to environment’.

Want to see them all? Have a look at this overview by NJCM:


December 2012

Great judgement in Nigeria and great to see Amnesty International Standing Up with us for the Human Right to a Healthy and Clean Environment!

Go to Amnesty's website for more:

August 2012

New UN Independent Expert to pave the way towards the Human Right to a Healthy and Clean Environment?

Stand Up For Your Rights welcomes last month’s appointment of Professor John Knox as the United Nations Human “Independent Expert on the human rights obligations related to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.”

The Independent Expert will be responsible for helping States understand their human rights obligations when dealing with environmental issues and his will help to strengthen international recognition of the right to a healthy and clean environment. We look forward to working with him. Also through the Green Rights Alliance!


June 2012

News on who will be the New Independent Expert on Human Rights and The Environment (more on this and the resolution of the Human Rights Council calling for this expert: under news below): the final three have been selected: John Knox, Don Anton or Dinah Shelton:


May / June 2012

Towards a "Human Right to a Healthy Environment" thanks to the European Court of Human Rights?

A short (groundbreaking) update:

New case law by ECHR:

Early 2012, the European Court of Human Rights confirmed the 'Right to Environment' and concluded to a violation by Italy in Di Sarno and others v. Italy (No.30765/08, 10 January 2012).The Court concluded:"The collection, treatment and disposal of waste were hazardous activities; as such, the State had been under a duty to adopt reasonable and appropriate measures capable of safeguarding the right of those concerned to a healthy and protected environment."

The Courtdid so, even though people had not (yet) suffered concrete damage to their health: "The Court noted that the applicants had not complained of any medical disorders linked to their exposure to the waste, and that the scientific studies produced by the parties had made conflicting findings as to the existence of a link between exposure to waste and an increased risk of cancer or congenital defects. Although the Court of Justice of the European Union, which had ruled on the issue of waste disposal in Campania, had taken the view that a significant accumulation of waste on public roads or in temporary storage sites was liable to expose the population to a health risk, the applicants' lives and health had not been in danger." More on this case:

It seems the Court confirms its first step in this direction, which it took in 2010 in the case of Băcilă v. Romania ( No. 19234/04, 30 March, 2010). In this case itwas clear that applicants were affected by the operation of an industrial plant in gross excess of applicable environmental standards. The complaint of the applicant pertained to the fact that the state had not acted in due diligence in ensuring that the impugned plant would reduce pollution levels to a level consistent with the level needed to ensure the well- being of the population. The levels of permissible environmental harm in the operating permit were set inter alia by reference to the levels set at EU level and through the use of findings in an IEA carried out by a special institute. In deciding on the merits of the case, and in finding that the state had not respected the interest of the applicant to ‘live in a healthy and balanced environment',the Court inter alia relied on domestic legal provisions determining unsafe levels of pollution, environmental studies commissioned by the authorities, relevant reports, statements or studies made by private entities, and medical certificates.

The Băcilă case was the first and only case in which the European Court of Human Rights had so clearly affirmed the existence of a right to environment. Now we have another one, the Di Sarno case, that even broadens the scope of this right. It remains to be seen how the Court will further elaborate on its recent case-law, and whether it will increasingly determine violations of human rights based on the extent to which states have failed to adequately implemented environmental standards and safety levels.

Human Rights Council resolution and Green Rights Alliance

The Human Rights Council recently decided (A/HRC/19/L.8/rev.1) to appoint an independent expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

Together with several other NGOs we're preparing the set up of a Green Rights Alliance: an alliance of NGOs, academics and others who (amongst other activities) will keep this Independent Expert informed on the most recent developments. We will put this on the Rio+20 (Peoples' Summit) agenda as well. If you or organisations and individuals that you know or represent are interested in participating (in person, capacity, with news or financially), please let us know.


January 2012

Together with the Dutch section of ICJ (NJCM) we've submitted a report for the 2011 the OHCHR for Human Rights and The Environment research. And we submitted our own. We are very pleased that the outcome document has picked up several of the notes we made and case law we mentioned.

The real great thing (which will be of particular interest to the NGO people and the Human Rights Academics amongst you), however, is that this UN High Commissioner on Human Rights report to the Human Rights Council not only openly asks the question "Should the international community recognize a new human right to a healthy environment?" (points 6. and 10.), but also opens up the debate for this 'new' right (points 11., 12., 13. and 31.).

Not many official UN documents have before created such openings for a fair debate. However, the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights saves the best for last. In its conclusions (points 78., 79. and 80.) it 
says: …"The theoretical discussions on the relationship between human rights and environment raise salient questions concerning, inter alia, the need for and the potential content of a right to a healthy environment… …Similarly, such questions arise regarding the operationalization of international human rights obligations as how to implement a rights-based approach to the negotiation and implementation of multilateral environmental agreements; and how to monitor the implementation of human rights treaties that recognize the right to a healthy environment or interconnected rights. These questions and other pending challenges lead to the following recommendations… …This analysis and information generally is key to enable the Human Rights Council to provide guidance to the international community in regard to the pressing human rights challenges facing humanity in the twenty-first century, including the recognition of a general right to a healthy environment."
It seems that our voice – slowly but surely - is being heard!

It's the first time that such a document clearly talks about recognising a (specific and absolute) human right to a healthy environment. Please find it below on this page! It should be online in English soon here (document A/HRC/19/34 ). We will keep you updated on the response by the Human Rights Council.


December 2011
We've just started a new global campaign, together with the Dutch NGOs NatuurCollege and IUCN NL, to get 'The Right of The Child to Nature and a Healthy Environment' into the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC).

At an expert meeting (which was superbly chaired by our Advisory Council Member Prof. Flinterman) we agreed on a draft text which we will send out soon (together with more information on this right and the campaign).

June 2010 A true shame for us, our children and future generations?! On 16 June 2010 European Ministers ignored Parliament and UN bodies and refused to codify the Human Right to a healthy and viable Environment into the European Convention on Human Rights. SEE the PRESS RELEASE issued by Stand Up For Your Rights
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe rejected a proposal by the Council’s Parliament to draw up an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’), recognising the right to a healthy and viable environment.


UNEP Executive Director, Mr. A. Steiner, is with us and calls for codification in ECHR!
May 2010

UNEP ED Achim Steiner recently sent a letter to Ms. Calmy-Rey, Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

The letter contains a warm plea from Mr. Steiner to the Ministers of the Council of Europe countries to accept and codify the Human Right to a healthy Environment into the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) - as was suggested by the Parliament of the Council of Europe last September.

Thanks Mr. Steiner! Ministers, here's your chance to act!

The letter (pdf) is uploaded to our sites, here and here.

Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) of Council of Europe advises against an explicit Right to Environment in ECHR
February 2010

Despite an almost unanimous call by the Parliament for a Right to a healthy Environment in the ECHR, the CDDH recently advised against it. It has used the same arguments of years ago. Arguments which the Parliament has openly discussed and decided are not viable in coming to its recommendation 1885 for a Right to Environment. CDDH apparantly is trapped in old school 'fear' thinking.

We call on the Committee of Ministers, who are to decide on this issue, to show wisdom and long term sustainable thinking and acting and to join the Parliament, the many individuals, NGOs and other organisations in their quest to have our environment protected and codified in the ECHR as a human right.

For us and future generations.

The Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) almost unanimously votes to acknowledge a Right to Environment in the European Convention on Human Rights!
October 2009

The first step has been taken to have a right to a healthy environment acknowledged under the European Convention on Human Rights. The Parliamentary Assembly almost unanimously (54 votes for, 3 against and 1 abstention) recommends for the drafting of an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the Right to a healthy environment. The (practically non-amended draft) recommendation can be found here. It (in detail) describes what this right would mean and why we and future generations need for it to be codified.We support PACE President Mr. Maria de Puig in his final statement: ”I congratulate the rapporteur, the committee and the committee chairman and others who have been involved in this work. It is a great moment for our Assembly.” We obviously applaud to this development, but call on the Committee of Ministers to swiftly accept this recommendation and act accordingly. Why? Because PACE has recommended similarly before, but in the past the Committee has demonstrated to be reluctant to accept this right. However, all the arguments used to deny or delay the codification of this right have been proven to be invalid. The current recommendation actually clearly states so. To all environmental, human rights, development and other NGOs we call out to openly show your support for this initiative as this human right is crucial to what we all stand for. The time has come to acknowledge, protect and respect our human right to a healthy environment. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

European Court on Human Rights reconfirms that it links human rights to environmental issues even though the ECHR still lacks an explicit Right to Environment
September 2009

In the case of Leon and Agnieszak Kania v. Poland, the applicants brought a case before the European Court of Human Rights (against the Republic of Poland complaining about the excessive length of administrative proceedings related to the functioning of a craftsmen’s cooperative established next to the their home in 1978. The applicants further alleged that due to the cooperative’s continuous activities they have been subjected to serious noise and pollution for a number of years, which resulted serious and long-term health problems. On 21 July 2009, the ECtHR held that there has been a violation of the applicants’ right to a fair hearing, since the length of the administrative proceedings was excessive and failed to meet the “reasonable time” requirement. With regard to the applicants’ right to respect for private and family life, the Court reiterated that even if there is no explicit right in the Convention to a clean and quiet environment, Article 8 of the Convention may apply in environmental cases, regardless of whether the pollution is directly caused by the State or the State's responsibility arises from failure to regulate private-sector activities properly. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amnesty International embraces 'Right to a healthy Environment'!
August 2009
As a part of their ‘Demand Dignity’ campaign, Amnesty International has released several reports which as a main title have:


We are very happy to see Amnesty International is joining our quest to have this right acknowledged, codified and respected and protected at the ECHR and international level!
Stand Up For Your Rights calls out on RtE re Wiwa v Shell case.
July 2009
After having done several interviews on the Ken Wiwa jr. v Shell case (radio, tv and newspapers), former Dutch PM Ruud Lubbers together with Stand Up For Your Rights board members Tineke Lambooy and Jan van de Venis had an article published in Dutch newspaper NRC immediately after Shell settled the case in the USA against Ken Wiwa jr. et al.
It sparked debate in the Netherlands and abroad on Human Rights and Business, remedies and the Human Right to a healthy and clean Environment. An English version was put online here: Shell v Wiwa NRC Article.

Concrete proposal for Right to Environment in European Convention of Human Rights!

June 2009
A concrete proposal to inscribe "the right to a healthy environment" into the European system of human rights protection is to be debated in September by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), its President, Mr. Maria de Puig announced.
UN Report on Climate Change and Human Rights is out
4 March 2009
The report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights can be found here (advance unedited version in English). The report will be made available in all six United Nations languages prior to the tenth session of the Human Rights Council (2-27 March 2009).
UDHR and Stand Up For Your Rights anniversary
10 December 2008
Congratulations! The Universal Declaration on Human Rights is celebrating its 60th anniversary today! And Stand Up For Your Rights its first! It is a time to look back what happened on human rights over the past decades, but also to look forward and to acknowledge the human rights challenges linked to our common future!
Like Respecting, Protecting and Fulfilling the Right to EnvironmentMr. S. Hockman QC calls for Right to Environment and Int. Environmental Court
December 2008
This QC, deputy High Court judge and former chairman of the Bar Council is calling for an international court for the environment to punish states that fail to protect wildlife and prevent climate change. It should be a body similar to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to be the supreme legal authority on issues regarding the environment. The first role of the new body would be to enforce international agreements on cutting greenhouse gas emissions set to be agreed next year. But the court would also fine countries or companies that fail to protect endangered species or degrade the natural environment and enforce the ”right to a healthy environment”.
The Friends of the Earth are with us!

November 2008
Friends of the Earth - England, Wales and Northern Ireland are the first NGO to support our mission and website. We will set up a structure soon which will mention the different organisations and individuals that stand up for having a Right to Environment acknowledged and respected globally.
Are you with us? Send us an e-mail!
UN website on Climate Change and Human Rights online

October 2008
The United Nations Human Rights Council in its resolution 7/23 “Human Rights and Climate Change” (March 2008), expressed its concern that climate change “poses an immediate and far-reaching threat to people and communities around the world” and requesting the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner (OHCHR) to prepare a study on the relationship between climate change and human rights.
This study is now being done. First results, updates and more on this topic on the OHCHR website.
When will we see the formal proposal to have a Right to Environment under the ECHR?
September 2008
On 8 September 2008, PACE President Mr. Lluís Maria de Puig restated that: "Protecting the environment is a question of human rights, not of principles." We obviously agree and support Mr. Maria de Puig's initiatives to have such a right acknowledged under the European Convention on Human Rights.
But, if we are frank, what we see is a repeating of statements made earlier this year.
We look forward to practicle steps now. For instance, when will we see the first formal proposal or recommendation by the Parliamentary Assembly to ensure such a right is added to the European Convention?
Right to Environment in Canada?
September 2008
Three leading Canadian environmental organisations have launched the first Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights (CEBR), model legislation that would enshrine in law the right of all Canadians to a healthy environment. The Bill would strengthen Canada’s framework for protecting the environment, by establishing a statutory (rather than a constitutional) right to a healthy environment and by imposing a legal duty upon Canada to protect this right. “It’s time that Canada caught up with the rest of the world in recognizing the rights of citizens to a healthy environment,” said Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada. “Canadians, everywhere in this country, deserve protection against environmental destruction and its negative impacts on their health.” More on this here.
Dutch Professor provides with a publication on the Ogoni People.
July 2008
We thank Professor F. Coomans for submitting one of his publications in which he connects to the topic of Human Rights and Environment in relation to the Ogoni People in Nigeria. Please feel free to download it here.
Right to Environment soon to be codified in European Convention on Human Rights?
June 2008
On the eve of World Environment Day, Mr. Maria de Puig, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), repeated his call for a "Right to Environment under the European Convention. In March 2008 he had said that protection of the natural environment had to be regarded as a fundamental human right. And that one of the objectives that he had set himself during his term of office was the integration of the right to a healthy environment into the European Convention on Human Rights, through an additional protocol. Click here for the PACE press release

It should be mentioned that PACE has tried so before in 1999 and 2003 (PA Recommendations 1431 and 1614) but the Committee of Ministers rejected this proposal on both occasions.
Climate change now officially is a Human Rights issue
April 2008
Climate change is now officially a human rights issue, as the UN Human Rights Council on 28 March 2008 passed a resolution on the subject. It also recognised that the world's poor are particularly vulnerable to climate change.
Right to Environment for Indigenous People
April 2008
The 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People specifically mentions (Art. 29) that indigenous peoples have a “right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources. States shall establish and implement assistance programmes for indigenous peoples for such conservation and protection, without discrimination.”


A HRC 19 34_English.pdf (0,45 Mb)
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