Chapter

Resolving Conflicts between Human Rights and Environmental Protection: Is there a Hierarchy?

Dinah Shelton

in Hierarchy in International Law

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199647071
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738999 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199647071.003.0008
Resolving Conflicts between Human Rights and Environmental Protection: Is there a Hierarchy?

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This chapter examines the jurisprudence of domestic and international courts dealing with the tensions between obligations pertaining to human rights and environmental protection. Environmental protection requires controlling human activities that unsustainably use natural resources, disrupt natural processes, or pollute the air, water, and soil upon which life depends. Like many other types of governmental regulation, measures of environmental protection almost inevitably restrict the scope of individual freedom to act, as well as have the potential to limit the enjoyment of human rights guaranteed by international or domestic law. This may result in norm conflicts between, on the one hand, legislation designed to protect nature and on the other, constitutional or treaty-based human rights, especially those concerning property rights, indigenous peoples, and freedom of movement. The chapter illustrates, however, that the various concerns are not intrinsically incompatible, because environmental law is also concerned with human well-being.

Keywords: human rights; environment; human well-being; property rights; indigenous peoples

Chapter.  16157 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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