On this day, a major global milestone was reached
The Australian Position
Although the UNHRC resolution may have been a major international breakthrough, only three Australian States and Territories have passed laws officially recognising human right. None of them explicitly mention a right to a healthy and safe environment.
At the federal level
While the UNHRC resolution does not alter the current framework, it recognizes that rights which fall within the purview the parliamentary committee (such the rights in the
The majority of Australian States and Territories have some form or other of a general environmental duty. This requires that persons undertake their activities in a manner that minimizes damage to the environment. This duty is usually enforced by regulator action. Australian environmental litigation tends to focus on challenges to project approvals or nuisance and negligence claims.
A rising trend in
The UNHRC resolution highlights a global trend to view environmental issues through a “human rights lens”. According to the UNHRC, “more than 150 States have recognized some form of a human right to a healthy ecosystem in, inter alia international agreements or their respective national constitutions, laws, or policies.”
International recognition of a human rights to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment underscores the importance of companies considering ESG considerations. Companies should consider the complex interactions between laws and standards in this area.
1 Human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, HRC Res 48/13
2 See HHuman Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny).Act 2011 (Cth).
4 International examples of the use of the
5 Jay Gillieatt’s ‘Youth Verdict and Human Rights Based Climate Litigation in
8 Vereniging Milieudefensie v
This article is meant to be a guideline for the subject matter. For your particular situation, you should seek specialist advice.
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