“If we fail our environment, we fail to protect our human rights,” warn UN experts on Earth Day
OHCHR release, 22 April 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: “We continue to fail to protect and conserve our environment in many respects, often with dire consequences for the enjoyment of human rights, despite great progress in some areas,” today warned a group of United Nations independent experts on the occasion of Earth Day 2013. “When our rivers are being depleted and polluted, the livelihoods of many vulnerable groups are put in jeopardy,” explained UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter, “including the ability for those groups to access sufficient and safe drinking water, grow food, and harvest from traditional fisheries.” “When mining and other extractive activities take place within indigenous territories without adequate environmental safeguards”, said UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, “a wide array of those communities’ human rights are usually violated or put at risk.” “These are but a few examples of the many challenges continuing to face the international community due to the deterioration of the environment,” the group of experts said. “Now it is time to take this occasion to recognize the fundamental link between a clean and healthy environment to the realization of a wide array of fundamental human rights,” they said. “It is also essential that the international community recognize the critical role that human rights law can play to ensure environmental protection.” Read the release …

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