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Right to a Healthy Environment

Professor Douglas Cassel’s commentary “Do we Have a Human Right to a Healthy Environment?” critique the existance of the right to a healthy environment in the international law discourse. The author argues that the matter has complex underlying legal challenges that have to be unmasked for it to be clearly comprehended.  He brings an interesting dimension regarding the relationship between human rights and environmental rights to the effect that the  “protection of the environment is meant to protect the people.” Cassel further examines the existance of this right in the context of regional systems of human rights protection. Comparatively, he looks at the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Inter-American Treaty and concludes that “these have been more adventurous,expressly declaring a right to a sound environment.”  The commentary further notes that environmental rights are generally viewed as group or community rights under both treaties hence individuals have no locus standi to seek remedies for individual claims.

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