Human Rights Council recognises the right to healthy environment
On 8 October 2021, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged states to take steps to implement the right to healthy environment. In its resolution 48/13, the Human Rights Council (HRC) recognised the right to healthy environment as a human right and asks states to work in collaboration with other stakeholders to bring this right to effect. The High Commissioner recognised the interconnectedness of the natural systems with the lives and livelihood of people and reaffirmed that bold steps are now required to "push for transformative economic, social and environmental policies that will protect people and nature." The HRC resolution also underscores the differentiated impacts of environmental hazards and climate change, noting that the most vulnerable groups are most affected by the brunt of such hazards.
The High Commissioner also noted that environmental action and human rights should not be separate as one cannot be achieved without the other and called for a "human rights-based approach to sustainable development".
The issue will be raised for further discussion before the UN General Assembly.
In Bangladesh, the judiciary has consistently noted the intertwined aspects of environment and human rights. In the landmark case of Mohiuddin Farooque v Bangladesh, the case which is most noted for its contribution to the development of public interest litigations in Bangladesh, the court reaffirmed that the right to life under article 31 of the Constitution is a multifaceted right. The petition, which questioned flood action plans, first paved way for recognition of environmental sustainability as a facet of human rights. Subsequently, several judicial pronouncements also reiterated healthy environment as a necessary precondition for lives and livelihood of the people. In Bangladesh, there is still further progress to be made not only with regard to proper implementation of the laws but also with regard to raising public awareness on the issue of environmental protection.
COMPILED BY LAW DESK (SOURCE: UN.ORG).