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There are a wealth of international and regional standards that relate to the environment and human rights. Please visit the OHCHR webpage here to view the full list of relevant conventions, protocols, declarations and codes of conduct. In addition to obligations and measures to be undertaken by States at the international and national level, the web page outlines norms on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights.
Specifically on the issue of Human Rights and Climate change, see resolution 7/23 of the United Nations Human Rights Council “Human rights and climate change” (28 March 2008), which expresses concern that climate change “poses an immediate and far-reaching threat to people and communities around the word” and requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner to prepare an analytical study on the relationship between climate change and human rights.
Viewing the data through a human rights lens, it is clear that projected climate change-related effects threaten the effective enjoyment of a range of human rights, such as the right to safe and adequate water and food, the right to health and adequate housing. Equally, the human rights perspective brings into focus that climate change is set to hit the poorest countries and communities the hardest.
On 25 March 2009, the Council adopted resolution 10/4 “Human rights and climate change” in which it, inter alia, notes that “climate change-related impacts have a range of implications, both direct and indirect, for the effective enjoyment of human rights …”; recognizes that the effects of climate change “will be felt most acutely by those segments of the population who are already in a vulnerable situation …”, recognizes that “effective international cooperation to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change … is important in order to support national efforts for the realization of human rights implicated by climate change-related impacts”, and affirms that “human rights obligations and commitments have the potential to inform and strengthen international and national policy-making in the area of climate change”.
The illicit traffic and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes pose a serious threat not only to the environment, but also to the enjoyment of internationally-protected human rights – the right to life, the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the rights to clean water, food, adequate housing and safe and healthy working conditions, the right to information, the right to participation and freedom of association, and other human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments.
The mandate of the Special Rapporteur has three components:
The Special Rapporteur presents annual reports to the Human Rights Council on the activities and studies undertaken in the view of the implementation of the mandate. View Annual Reports.
The Special Rapporteur also monitors the adverse effects on human rights of the illicit movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes throughout the world. He/she identifies general trends related to such phenomena and undertakes country visits which provide the Special Rapporteur with a firsthand account on the situation relevant to his/her mandate in a specific country. View Country Reports