Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment": Text of Comments Submitted by Larry Catá Backer and Flora Sapio


 (Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2017)

In October 2017 Professor Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, circulated a Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment for which he is soliciting views (available here in English, French, Spanish). It draws on his work over the arc of his mandate and its object is to summarize the basic human rights obligations of States on environmental matters, as they have been clarified by human rights bodies. The final version of the Guidelines will be presented to the Human Rights Council in March 2018, as part of Professor Knox's final set of reports.

Professor Knox has solicited comments to the Draft Guidelines. Set out below is the text of our comments to Professor Knox on the Draft Guidelines. The text of the Draft Guidelines (English, Français, Español) follows our comments.

John H. Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment (former Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment) and Henry C. Lauerman Professor of International Law has been advancing his mandate. (See HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE. HERE, HERE, Here, HERE and here).







November 11, 2017
Professor John Knox,
Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
OHCHR-Palais Wilson, United Nations Office at Geneva
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Dear Professor Knox,

We welcome the invitation, extended in a letter from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, dated 11th October 2016, to provide comments on the Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment.

We believe a conception of the environment as the most important factor that allows human life on the planet is essential to the protection of all the rights to which human beings are entitled.

We are therefore honored to have an opportunity to contribute to making the adoption of the Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment an effective exercise in public consultation and participation.

We notice how the Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment summarize the basic human rights obligations of States on environmental matters. We believe that the obligations of private actors on environmental matters, as they have been clarified by human rights bodies, play a role as important as the obligations of national States.

We have had opportunities to observe how vulnerability to environmental harm is highly contextual; it makes no distinction of ethnicity, gender, age, social or economic status, and it relates to specific forms and patterns of environmental harm. Therefore, we believe it is essential for all victims of environmental harm, no one excluded, to have a possibility to self-identify as members of a vulnerable population.

We respectfully enclose our comments, and suggestions concerning the amendment of the Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment to reflect each one of the above considerations.

Sincerely,

Larry Catà Backer
Flora Sapio



 
Executive Summary

The Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment are based on articles 4, 5, and 7 of Resolution 31/8, and articles 5, 6, and 7 of Resolution 34/20 (Human Rights and the Environment). They summarize the basic human rights obligations of States on environmental matters.

The adoption of the Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment will provide an important opportunity to seek to advance the conception of the environment from its current status as one of the many variables in human rights protection, to its ontological status as the single factor that allows human life to be lived on the planet.

The potential of the Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment goes beyond providing a much needed framework for the basic human rights obligations of States on environmental matters. The Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment could place themselves at the very forefront of the most recent developments in unfolding the moral obligations implicit in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by incorporating notions about the duties of corporate actors.

Violations of environmental rights, and environmental harm, ignore distinctions of ethnicity, gender, age, social or economic status. They occur independent of any attribute of human beings, and to not admit or allow for human agency. All victims of environmental harm may, however, enjoy a greater measure of empowerment if they had a possibility to identify themselves as members of a vulnerable population, and to petition for protection under national and international law within their jurisdiction.

It is with these considerations in mind that we suggest to the Special Rapporteur the following additional revisions for his consideration.

Suggested Revisions to the
Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment
Article 1
Every State has a general obligation to prevent, reduce and remedy environmental harm that interferes with the full enjoyment of human rights.
Suggested Revision
Every State has a general obligation to prevent, reduce and remedy environmental harm that interferes with the full enjoyment of human rights.
All states have a duty to enforce obligations under their own domestic law, including all international obligations written into their domestic legal orders.
Article 2
Every State has an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil human rights in actions it undertakes to address environmental challenges.
Suggested Revision
Every State has an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil human rights in actions it undertakes to address environmental challenges.
Every State has a commitment to apply the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights in a way that recognizes that environmental harms are human rights wrongs to those individuals and communities affected.
Article 4
Every State has an obligation to provide for the assessment of environmental impacts that may interfere with the full enjoyment of human rights.
Suggested Revision
Every State has an obligation to provide for the assessment of environmental impacts that may interfere with the full enjoyment of human rights.
Such obligation includes the obligation to assess the operations of government and those of all economic activity within its national territory. States may extend that
obligation to include the activities of its instrumentalities and enterprises chartered or controlled by it with respect to their worldwide operations.
Article 5
Every State has an obligation to provide for public access to environmental information.
Suggested Revision
Every State has an obligation to provide for full, timely, and free public access to environmental information.
Article 7
Every State has an obligation to provide for a safe and enabling environment in which individuals, groups and organs of society that work on human rights and environmental issues can operate free from threats, hindrance and insecurity.
Suggested Revision
Every State has an obligation to provide for a safe and enabling environment in which individuals, groups and organs of society that work on human rights and environmental issues can operate free from threats, hindrance and insecurity.
Such obligation includes a strong commitment to observe its own criminal law, and to fully prosecute violations.
States are encouraged to develop multilateral cooperation to enhance their respective abilities to comply with the multilateral normative obligations specified in Article 10.
Article 8
Every State has an obligation to provide for effective remedies for violations and abuses of human rights relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
Suggested Revision
Every State has an obligation to provide for effective remedies for violations and abuses of human rights relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
Such remedies should include judicial and non-judicial remedies compatible with the Third Pillar duties and responsibilities of States under the United Nations Guiding
Principles for Business and Human Rights.
Article 8
Every State has an obligation to establish, maintain and enforce an effective normative framework for the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, including:
(a) substantive standards, including with respect to air quality , water quality, the global climate, biological diversity, waste and toxic substances, that are non-retrogressive and consistent with relevant international environmental, health and safety standards; and
(b) effective legal and institutional mechanisms to regulate the activities of public and private actors in order to prevent, reduce and remedy environmental harm that interferes with the full enjoyment of human rights
Suggested Revision
Every State has an obligation to establish, maintain and enforce an effective normative framework for the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, including:
(a) substantive standards, including with respect to air quality , water quality, the global climate, biological diversity, waste and toxic substances, that are non-retrogressive and consistent with relevant international environmental, health and safety standards; and
(b) effective legal and institutional mechanisms to regulate the activities of public and private actors in order to prevent, reduce and remedy environmental harm that interferes with the full enjoyment of human rights
(c) effective mechanisms to monitor, assess, and evaluate the degree of compliance by public and private actors with relevant national and international standards, and with obligations to prevent, reduce and remedy environmental harm
Article 12
States have an obligation to ensure that projects supported by international financial mechanisms respect, protect and fulfil human rights relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
Suggested Revision
States have an obligation to ensure that projects supported by international financial mechanisms respect, protect and fulfil human rights relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
In connection with this obligation States should reaffirm and center efforts to avoid corruption in all of its forms and to seek such technical assistance as may be necessary for states to meet their obligations.
Article 13
Every State has an obligation to identify those within its jurisdiction who are most vulnerable to different types of environmental harm, who may include women, children, indigenous peoples, older persons, persons with disabilities, and the extremely poor, among others.
Suggested Revision
Every State has an obligation to identify those within its jurisdiction who are most vulnerable to different types of environmental harm, who may include women, children, indigenous peoples, older persons, persons with disabilities, and the extremely poor, among others.
All States recognize that vulnerability is contextual and, subject to ¶ 14, may relate specifically to the forms and patterns of environmental harms. States are encouraged to ensure that vulnerable populations have the opportunity to self- identify and to petition for protection under national and international law within their jurisdiction.

Explanation on the Suggested Revisions to the Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment

The present document provides an explanation of the rationale behind our suggestions to revise the Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment (Draft Guidelines) as illustrated in the above table.

The Role of Business Enterprises in the Transnational Regulation of Human Rights

1. The text of the Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment is inspired by the requests, suggestions and acknowledgments contained in articles 4, 5, and 7 of Resolution 31/8 (Human Rights and the Environment),i and in articles 5, 6, and 7 of Resolution 34/20 (Human Rights and the Environment).ii

2. Resolutions 31/8 and 34/20 recall and build upon:
  1. (a)  the principles of universality, indivisibility, interdependence and inter-relatedness of human rights;
  2. (b)  all past resolutions relevant to human rights, and to the environment;
  3. (c)  the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
  4. (d)  the outcome document “The Future We Want”;
  5. (e)  the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development;
  6. (f)  the Cancun Declaration;
3. Resolution 25/21 of 15 April 2014 (Human Rights and the Environment) is among the documents referenced by Resolutions 31/8 and 34/20. In its preamble, Resolution 25/21 recalls the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

4. Resolution 28/11 of 7 April 2015 in article 6 called for the private sector to aid the Special Rapporteur in fulfilling his mandate, by agreeing to provide to him information relevant to the protection of environmental rights.

5A. Outside of the United Nations System, Chapter VI of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines) is coherent with the spirit of Resolution 31/8 and 34/20. Chapter VI also reflects the principles contained in the Rio Declaration on the Environment and Development, Agenda 21, the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in decision-making, and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.

5B. The UNGPs and the OECD Guidelines have been widely supported from intergovernmental economic organizations, states, civil society organizations, and the private sector. They form part of the global foundation for the protection of human rights.

6. The responsibility to respect human rights exists independent of the ability, or the willingness, of any national state to fulfill its own human rights obligations. This responsibility exists above national laws and regulations. The responsibility to respect human rights is a responsibility that belongs to all persons, natural or corporate – above and beyond the will of national States.

7. Resolution 31/8 has reaffirmed the need for a meaningful protection of environmental rights by encouraging all states “to foster a responsible private business sector, and to encourage corporate sustainability reporting, while protecting environmental standards in accordance with relevant international standards, and agreements, and other ongoing initiatives in this regard” (article 5, k). The same objective has been reinstated by article 6, l of Resolution 34/20.

8. The Draft Guidelines can bring this objective to its most natural conclusion, by allowing for a more proactive involvement of private actors in the protection of human rights and the environment.

9. A more proactive role for business enterprises – many of which have made significant and autonomous contributions to the creation of environmental protection and environmentally-friendly technologies - would be entirely coherent with the basic international framework on human rights and environmental protection.

10. The UNGPs have recommended states to set out clearly the expectation that all business enterprises domiciled in their territory or jurisdiction respect human rights, included the right to enjoy a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. They have also recommended business enterprises to avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impact through their own activities, and to address such impacts when they occur.

11. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, conscious of the role business enterprises play in global environmental governance,iii called upon all business enterprises to apply their creativity and innovation to solve sustainable development challenges, while protecting environmental standards in accordance with relevant international standards and agreements.iv

12. The outcome document “The Future We Want” has stated how the protection of environmental rights – a key component of sustainable development – depends on the active engagement of the private and public sector. The active participation of private and public business enterprises can bring a significant contribution to the enjoyment of environmental rights, also through the tool of public-private partnership. Therefore, policy frameworks that enable business enterprises to advance sustainable development are supported.v Business enterprises and industry associations have been invited to develop strategies to ensure a sustainable development,vi through improvements in their accountability and transparency,vii and more generally speaking the creation of an environmentally responsible private sector.viii In fact, the protection of environmental rights requires not only a vibrant and dynamic civil society space, but also a broad public participation involving enterprises, and industry associations.ix

13. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development calls for a concerted action in efforts to reduce the deterioration of environmental rights, attributing an autonomous and
active role to business enterprises,x who should form part of a broad consensus among all stakeholders on the ground,xi cooperate with the state and other actors, report annually on their environmental records, and adopt codes of conduct on the environment.xii

14. The Cancun Declaration likewise calls for the adoption of an inclusive, cross-sector approach to protect environmental rights through means not limited to national legislation. An equally important role is played by regulatory frameworks, policies, administrative measures, and the active involvement of all stakeholders, included business enterprises.

15. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the outcome document “The Future We Want”, the Rio Declaration, and the Cancun Declaration have provides a solid foundation for a more active involvement of business enterprises, and for the crucial role of cross-sector policies. They have done so both retrospectively, and prospectively.

16. That these documents should be understood prospectively is evident in the preambles to Resolution 31/8 and 34/20, where they invoke all prior contributions to the cause of protecting human rights, summarize, and develop their meaning.

17. Acknowledging business enterprises as holders of human rights obligations related to the environment would be coherent also with the principle of environmental law whereby “the polluter pays”. Resolution 31/8 and 34/20 make only a timid gesture in this sense. However, the Draft Guidelines have ample opportunities to develop this principle beyond its current dimension.

18. Traditionally, the principle “the polluter pays” had to goal to make private and public actors responsible for violations of environmental rights pay for the damage caused to human beings or the natural environment.

19. A significant problem in state practice, however, has been the systematic difficulty in enforcing legislation that regulates respect for environmental rights by business enterprises. This difficulty can in part be attributed to the changing landscape of domestic and transnational governance. The landscape of governance was once exclusively populated by national states, who could maintain a firm regulatory control over their borders through their domestic regulation, and govern the relationships among themselves through international law. Now, this landscape has become home to multiple actors.

20. This is a welcome development. Domestically, the formation of public-private partnerships has led to a greater efficiency in public administration. The emergence of a vibrant global civil society sector including non-profit organizations, but also industry associations, certification bodies etc. has allowed for the existence of alternatives to the inability, or unwillingness, of national states to protect the full range of human rights – civil and political, cultural, social, economic, and environmental.

21. The increasing contribution to administrative, economic, and environmental governance by private actors means that these actors have come to enjoy a measure of public power. Such public power has not been bestowed to them through free and universal elections. It has been delegated to private entities by democratically elected public bodies, and it is therefore legitimate.

22. Where domestic legislation once sufficed to ensure a measure of human rights protection, the existence of autonomous governance centers in the form of business enterprises, and civil society organizations broadly understood has put these actors in part beyond the reach of the state law.

23. This phenomenon is entirely normal: as autonomous governance units, both business enterprises and civil society organizations ranging from not-for-profit entities to industry associations need a safe and enabling environment if they are to flourish. A safe and enabling environment for business enterprises and civil society organization is being created by allowing these entities to regulate their activities through their own private regulatory systems.

24. These regulatory systems must be acknowledged as legitimate, and as a component of public international law. In several instances, enterprises regulatory systems have displayed an ability to erode, displace, and in part replace regulation by national states, and efforts by civil society. Where international public law once was the only tool to regulate relations among state, this role is now fulfilled also by private forms of transnational regulation.

25. In light of this scenario, the inclusion in the Draft Guidelines of public and private enterprises as makers rather than as mere recipients of regulation, may contribute to a more effective protection of environmental rights.

Monitoring and Assessment Mechanisms

26. The attribution to business enterprises of obligations to prevent, reduce and remedy environmental harm that interferes with the full enjoyment of human rights would entail obligations about assessment, performance evaluation, and disclosure. These obligations are a cornerstone of regulatory systems created by enterprises. They are also consistent with the spirit of article 4 and article 5 of the Draft Guideline.

27. At the moment, article 4 and 5 attribute obligations to states. The fulfillment of states’ obligations about assessment and transparency require the adoption of adequate means and metrics to:

a) ascertain and measure the impact of environmental harm on air quality, water quality, biological diversity, etc.
b) make information about violation of environmental rights available and accessible to the broad public, including citizens, free of charge.

These means and metrics are not too dissimilar from those enterprises already use to voluntarily comply with their corporate responsibility obligations.
28. The transposition of similar obligations and mechanisms to the Draft Guidelines would create a range of more effective tools to regulate the activities of public and private actors. In the absence of reliable data – quantitative and qualitative – about who the polluters are, how they are polluting, and to what extent they are harming the environment – even the most sophisticated legal and institutional mechanisms would be ineffective.

In this respect, possible means to enable all states to ascertain the impact of environmental harm by public and private actors could be:
  •   introducing – where absent – quantitative standards on air quality, water quality, and all the other variables susceptible of impacting environmental rights
  •   leveraging the potential of Big Data to generate, collect, and compile data about compliance by public and private actors with environmental standards, as well as data about enforcement.
 29. The publicity of information about violation of environmental rights is essential to the creation of a safe and enabling environment in which individuals, groups and organs of society that work on environmental issues can operate free from threats, hindrance and insecurity .

In this respect, it is suggested that the Draft Guidelines leverage the principles of publicity of criminal and administrative punishment, to:
  •   enable national states to disclose information about specific violations of environmental law, policies, and standards by public and by private actors;
  •   make such information available and accessible to the public, by using information technologies such as the internet, mobile phone applications, etc.
  •   disclose to the public essential information about public and private subjects responsible of violations. The disclosure of such information would be kept to a level sufficient to allow for the creation of an enabling environment for all those with a stake in the protection of environmental rights, while at the same time respecting the right to privacy of relevant actors.
 30. Concerning the enforcement of a normative framework for the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, it is suggested to add, to the means listed under article 9:

public mechanisms to evaluate and rate compliance by public and private subjects.

An hypothetical ‘environmental rating’ attributed to public and private subjects could be used not only to assess their compliance with domestic legislation, domestic and transnational standards, and their contractual obligations, but also to enforce additional mechanisms, to encourage behaviors consistent with human rights protection, and deter conducts harming the environment
  •   effective incentive mechanisms to be concretely defined by states, such as privileged access to bank credit, more favorable loan conditions, etc.
  •   effective deterrence mechanisms, such as a prohibition to participate in tenders for public contracts, more restrictive conditions for access to bank credit, revocation of administrative licenses, exclusion for public investment projects, limitation in access to financial markets, etc.

  • Concerning Human Vulnerability to Environmental Harm 

    31. The universality, indivisibility, interdependence and inter-relatedness of human rights go beyond all distinction along the lines of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or geographical origin.

    32. Vulnerability to environmental harm is a feature of common to all human beings and living organisms, which is triggered by exposure to pollutants. Exposure to substances such as asbestos, sulfur dioxide, toxic waste, etc. may cause the same effects on human health, regardless of the gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation of the person exposed to them.

    33. There is no doubt that a higher concentration of pollutants can be found in those areas which – in the Latin American continent, for instance – are inhabited by indigenous people, or member of minority groups. While this is indeed the general rule in specific geographical areas, this pattern is not universally diffused. In the European Union, there exist areas where the incidence of environmental pollution has dramatically lowered the life expectancy of the population, in a climate of global indifference. In countries such as India and China, air pollution affects all inhabitants, without distinctions.

    34. Environmental harm, including harm done to human health, occurs across all nations and all continents.

    35. It is suggested to revise article 13 of the Draft Guidelines to link vulnerability to different types of environmental harm to the physical presence of human beings in the geographical areas where such harm occurs. Conceiving of vulnerability to environmental harm by dissecting human nature along the lines of gender, age, ethnicity, etc. would not necessarily reflect such a link in the most accurate way.

    State College, Rome,
    11 November 2017


i GA Res. 31/8, Human Rights and the Environment UN Doc A/HRC/31/L.10 (18 March 2016)
ii GA Res. 34/20, Human Rights and the Environment UN Doc A/HRC/34/L.33 (24 March 2017)
  1. iii  Paragraph 52 understands the opening words of the Charter of the United Nations - “We the peoples” as
    referring to all those who have embarked upon the journey of human rights protection, a journey which involves “Governments as well as parliaments, the United Nations system and other international institution, local authorities, indigenous peoples, civil society, and the private sector, the scientific and academic community – and all the people.” See United Nations General Assembly, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development A/RES/70/1 (21 October 2015).
  2. iv  Supra, at Paragraph 67.
  3. v  United Nations General Assembly, Outcome Document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable
    Development, “The Future We Want”, A/RES/66/288 (11 September 2012), at Paragraph 46.
  4. vi  Supra, at Paragraph 69.
  5. vii  Supra,atParagraph228.
  6. viii  Supra, at Paragraph 268.
  7. ix  Supra, at Paragraph 43.
  8. x  United Nations General Assembly, Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development,
    Annex I, Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, A/Conf.151/26 (Vol. I) (12 August 1992), at
    Paragraph 11.
  9. xi  Supra, at Paragraph 28.
  10. xii  Supra, at Paragraph 30.

    __________


    __________


    DRAFT GUIDELINES ON
    HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
    GENERAL OBLIGATIONS
    1.  Every State has a general obligation to prevent, reduce and remedy environmental harm that interferes with the full enjoyment of human rights. 
    2.  Every State has an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil human rights in actions it undertakes to address environmental challenges. 
    3.  Every State has an obligation to prohibit discrimination and to ensure equal and effective protection against discrimination in actions relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. 
    PROCEDURAL OBLIGATIONS
    4.  Every State has an obligation to provide for the assessment of environmental impacts that may interfere with the full enjoyment of human rights.
    5.  Every State has an obligation to provide for public access to environmental information.
    6.  Every State has an obligation to provide for and to facilitate public awareness and participation in environmental decision-making, including by respecting and protecting the rights to freedom of expression and to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
    7.  Every State has an obligation to provide for a safe and enabling environment in which individuals, groups and organs of society that work on human rights and environmental issues can operate free from threats, hindrance and insecurity.
    8.  Every State has an obligation to provide for effective remedies for violations and abuses of human rights relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.   
    SUBSTANTIVE OBLIGATIONS
    9.  Every State has an obligation to establish, maintain and enforce an effective normative framework for the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, including:
    (a) substantive standards, including with respect to air quality, water quality, the global climate, biological diversity, waste and toxic substances, that are non-retrogressive and consistent with relevant international environmental, health and safety standards; and
    (b) effective legal and institutional mechanisms to regulate the activities of public and private actors in order to prevent, reduce and remedy environmental harm that interferes with the full enjoyment of human rights.   
    10.  States have an obligation to cooperate with each other to establish, maintain and enforce effective international environmental norms in order to prevent, reduce and remedy transboundary and global environmental harm that interferes with the full enjoyment of human rights. 
    11.  States have an obligation to take into account their human rights obligations and commitments relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment in the implementation of and follow-up to the Sustainable Development Goals.
    12.  States have an obligation to ensure that projects supported by international financial mechanisms respect, protect and fulfil human rights relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.  
    OBLIGATIONS IN RELATION TO THOSE WHO ARE
    MOST VULNERABLE TO ENVIRONMENTAL HARM
    13.  Every State has an obligation to identify those within its jurisdiction who are most vulnerable to different types of environmental harm, who may include women, children, indigenous peoples, older persons, persons with disabilities, and the extremely poor, among others. 
    14.  Every State has heightened obligations to protect those who are most vulnerable to environmental harm, taking into account their specific needs, capacities and risks.  These obligations include:  
    (a) assessing the environmental impacts of proposed actions on them;
    (b) facilitating their access to environmental information, including information on the specific effects of environmental harm on them;
    (c) facilitating their equitable and effective participation in environmental decision-making;  
    (d) facilitating their access to effective remedies for violations and abuses of their rights; and
    (e) ensuring that normative frameworks prevent, reduce and remedy environmental harm that interferes with the full enjoyment of their rights.
    15.  Every State has obligations to indigenous peoples and local communities[1], which include:
    (a) ensuring the legal recognition and protection of their rights to the lands, territories and natural resources that they have traditionally occupied or used;
    (b) consulting with them and obtaining their free, prior and informed consent before relocating them or approving measures that may affect their lands, territories or natural resources; and
    (c) ensuring that they receive a fair and equitable share of the benefits from development activities that affect their lands, territories or natural resources.


    [1] “Local communities” here refers to communities that resemble indigenous peoples in having a distinctive cultural and material relationship with their ancestral land. Examples include Afro-descendant communities in Latin America.   
    __________

    PROJET DE LIGNES DIRECTRICES SUR LES DROITS DE L’HOMME ET L’ENVIRONNEMENT
    OBLIGATIONS GENERALES
    1. Les Etats ont comme obligation générale de prévenir, réduire et réparer les dommages environnementaux entravant la pleine jouissance des droits de l’homme.
    2. Les Etats ont l’obligation de respecter, protéger et réaliser les droits de l’homme dans les actions menées pour relever les défis environnementaux.
    3. Les Etats ont pour obligation d’interdire la discrimination et d’assurer une protection égale et effective contre la discrimination dans les actions menées afin de garantir la jouissance d’un environnement, sûr, propre, sain et durable.
    OBLIGATIONS PROCEDURALES
    4. Les Etats ont l’obligation de pourvoir à une évaluation des impacts environnementaux qui pourraient interférer avec la pleine jouissance des droits de l’homme.
    5. Les Etats ont l’obligation de faire en sorte que le public ait accès à l’information relative à l’environnement.
    6. Les Etats ont l’obligation de faciliter la sensibilisation et la participation de la population dans les processus décisionnel relatif à l’environnement, en protégeant notamment les droits à la liberté d’expression et à la liberté de réunion et d’association pacifiques.
    7. Les Etats ont l’obligation de garantir un environnement sûr et favorable au sein duquel les individus, groupes et organes de la société, y compris ceux qui travaillent sur les questions relatives aux droits de l’homme et à l’environnement, puissent agir à l’abri de toute menace, de toute entrave et de l’insécurité.
    8. Les Etats ont l’obligation de garantir des recours efficaces contre les violations et atteintes aux droits de l’homme relatives à la jouissance d’un environnement sûr, propre, sain et durable.
    OBLIGATIONS DE FOND
    9. Les Etats ont l’obligation d’établir, maintenir et mettre en œuvre un cadre normatif effectif visant à assurer la jouissance d’un environnement sûr, propre, sain et durable, y compris par:
    (a) Des normes en ce qui a trait à la qualité de l’air, au climat au niveau global, à la diversité biologique aux déchets et aux substances toxiques notamment, qui sont de nature non rétroactive et qui soient cohérentes avec les standards internationaux en matière de santé et sûreté ; et
    (b) des cadres juridiques et institutionnels permettant de réglementer efficacement les activités des acteurs publics et privés afin de prévenir, réduire et réparer les dommages environnementaux entravant la pleine jouissance des droits de l’homme. 
    10. Les Etats ont l’obligation de coopérer les uns avec les autres afin d’établir, maintenir et mettre en œuvre les normes de droit international en matière environnementale en vue de prévenir, réduire et réparer les dommages environnementaux globaux et transfrontaliers qui entravent la pleine jouissance des droits de l’homme.
    11. Les Etats ont l’obligation de prendre en considération les obligations de droits de l’homme ainsi que les engagements relatifs à la jouissance d’un environnement sûr, sain, propre et durable dans la mise en œuvre des Objectifs de Développement Durable et leur suivi.
    12. Les Etats ont l’obligation de veiller à ce que les projets soutenus par les mécanismes de financement respectent, protègent et réalisent les droit de l’homme relatifs à la jouissance d’un environnement sûr, propre, sain et durable.
    OBLIGATIONS RELATIVES AUX PLUS VULNERABLES ET AUX MEMBRES DE COMMUNAUTES OU DE GROUPES
    13. Les Etats ont l’obligation d’identifier, au sein de leurs propres juridictions, les personnes qui sont les plus vulnérables aux différents types d’atteintes à l’environnement, ces dernières peuvent notamment comprendre les femmes, les enfants, les peuples autochtones, les personnes âgées, les personnes handicapées et les personnes en situation d’extrême pauvreté.
    14. Les Etats ont des obligations spécifiques en ce qui a trait à la protection des plus vulnérables des atteintes à l’environnement, prenant en considération leurs besoins particuliers, leurs capacités et les risques auxquels ces personnes sont confrontées, y compris :
    (a) d’évaluer des impacts environnementaux qui seront ressentis par ces personnes dans le cadre des actions proposées ;

    (b) de promouvoir leur accès à l'information environnementale, y compris les informations sur les effets spécifiques des dommages environnementaux;

    (c) de promouvoir leur participation équitable et efficace à la prise de décisions en matière d'environnement;
    (d) de faciliter l’accès de ces personnes à des recours efficaces pour réparer les violations et les atteintes à leurs droits; et

    (e) de veiller à ce que les cadres normatifs préviennent, réduisent et réparent les dommages environnementaux qui entravent la pleine jouissance de leurs droits.
    15. Les Etats ont des obligations envers les peuples autochtones et les communautés locales[1], y compris ; 
    (a) d’assurer la reconnaissance juridique et la protection de leurs droits sur les terres, territoires et ressources naturelles qu'ils ont traditionnellement occupés ou utilisés ;
    (b) de les consulter et d’obtenir leur consentement préalable, libre et éclairé avant de les relocaliser ou d'approuver des mesures susceptibles d'affecter leurs terres, territoires ou ressources naturelles; et
    (c)  de veiller à ce qu’ils reçoivent une part des bénéfices résultant des activités de développement affectant leurs terres, territoires, ou ressources naturelles qui soit juste et équitable.


    [1] «communautés locales» se réfère ici aux communautés qui ressemblent aux peuples autochtones en ayant une relation culturelle et matérielle distincte avec leurs terres ancestrales. Les exemples incluent les communautés d'origine africaine en Amérique latine. 
    __________

    PROYECTO DE DIRECTRICES SOBRE
    LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS Y EL MEDIO AMBIENTE
    OBLIGACIONES GENERALES
    1.  Los Estados tiene una obligación general de prevenir, reducir y reparar los daños ambientales que interfieran con el pleno disfrute de los derechos humanos.  
    2.  Cada Estado tiene la obligación de respetar, proteger y hacer efectivos los derechos humanos en las medidas adoptadas para hacer frente a los problemas ambientales.  
    3. Cada Estado tiene la obligación de prohibir la discriminación y asegurar una protección igual y efectiva contra la discriminación en las medidas adoptadas relacionadas con el disfrute de un medio ambiente sin riesgos, limpio, saludable y sostenible.  
    OBLIGACIONES PROCESALES
    4. Cada Estado tiene la obligación de proporcionar para la evaluación de los impactos ambientales que puedan interferir con el pleno disfrute de los derechos humanos. 
    5.  Cada Estado tiene la obligación de proporcionar acceso público a la información medioambiental.
    6.  Todo Estado tiene la obligación de proporcionar y facilitar la sensibilización y la participación del público en la adopción de decisiones relativas al medio ambiente, inclusive mediante el respeto y la protección de los derechos a la libertad de expresión y a la libertad de reunión y de asociación pacíficas. 
    7.  Cada Estado tiene la obligación de proporcionar un entorno seguro y propicio en el que los individuos, grupos y las instituciones que se ocupan de los derechos humanos y las cuestiones ambientales puedan actuar sin amenazas, trabas ni inseguridad. 
    8.  Cada Estado tiene la obligación de proporcionar vías de recurso efectivas para las violaciones y los abusos de los derechos humanos relacionados con el disfrute de un medio ambiente sin riesgos, limpio, saludable y sostenible.
    LAS OBLIGACIONES SUSTANTIVAS
    9. Cada Estado tiene la obligación de establecer, mantener y aplicar un marco normativo eficaz para el disfrute de un medio ambiente sin riesgos, limpio, saludable y sostenible, incluyendo:
    (A) normas sustantivas, incluyendo en lo referente a la calidad del aire y del agua, el clima global, la diversidad biológica, los desechos y sustancias tóxicas, que son no-regresivos y coherente con las normas internacionales ambientales, sanitarias y de seguridad; y 
    (B)  mecanismos jurídicos e institucionales eficaces para regular las actividades de agentes públicos y privados a fin de prevenir, reducir y reparar los daños ambientales que interfieran con el pleno disfrute de los derechos humanos.   
    10.  Los Estados tienen la obligación de cooperar entre sí para establecer, mantener y hacer cumplir las normas ambientales internacionales eficaces a fin de prevenir, reducir y reparar los daños ambientales transfronterizos y globales que interfieran con el pleno disfrute de los derechos humanos.  
    11. Los Estados tienen la obligación de tener en cuenta sus obligaciones y compromisos de derechos humanos relacionados con el disfrute de un medio ambiente sin riesgos, limpio, saludable y sostenible en la aplicación y el seguimiento de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible.
    12. Los Estados tienen la obligación de asegurar que los proyectos respaldados por mecanismos internacionales de financiación respeten, protejan y hagan efectivos los derechos humanos relacionados con el disfrute de un medio ambiente sin riesgos, limpio, saludable y sostenible.  
    OBLIGACIONES EN RELACIÓN CON QUIENES SON MÁS VULNERABLES A LOS DAÑOS AMBIENTALES
    13. Cada Estado tiene la obligación de identificar a aquellos dentro de su jurisdicción, que son más vulnerables a los diferentes tipos de daños ambientales, pudiéndose incluir a mujeres, niños, pueblos indígenas, personas de edad, personas con discapacidad y personas extremadamente pobres, entre otros.  
    14. Cada Estado tiene obligaciones más estrictas para proteger a quienes son más vulnerables a los daños ambientales, tomando en consideración sus necesidades, capacidades y riesgos específicos. Estas obligaciones incluyen:   
    (A)  evaluando los impactos ambientales de las medidas propuestas en ellos; 
    (B) facilitando su acceso a la información medioambiental, incluida la información sobre los efectos específicos de los daños ambientales en ellos; 
    (C) facilitando su participación equitativa y efectiva en la adopción de decisiones relativas al medio ambiente.
    (D) facilitando su acceso a vías de recurso efectivas por las violaciones y los abusos de sus derechos; y
    (E) garantizando que los marcos normativos prevengan, reduzcan y reparen los daños ambientales que interfieran con el pleno disfrute de sus derechos.
    15. Cada Estado tiene obligaciones para con los pueblos indígenas y las comunidades locales,[1] que incluyen:
    (A) garantizar el reconocimiento jurídico y la protección de sus derechos a las tierras, territorios y recursos naturales que tradicionalmente han ocupado o utilizado.
    (B) consultar con ellos y obtener su consentimiento libre, previo e informado antes de reasentarlos o aprobar medidas que puedan afectar a sus tierras, territorios o recursos naturales; y 
    (C) garantizar que reciban una parte justa y equitativa de los beneficios derivados de las actividades de desarrollo que afectan a sus tierras, territorios o recursos naturales.


    [1] "Comunidades Locales" se refiere aquí a las comunidades que se asemejan a los pueblos indígenas en tener una distintiva relación cultural y material con sus tierras ancestrales. Los ejemplos incluyen las comunidades afrodescendientes en América Latina.   

2 comments:

Betita Horn said...

Dear Larry and Flora, I considered the proposal of the Project is very good and I liked the suggestions for changes that you both propose.
My suggestion, for you, is a small change, which can be considered as an addendum.
According to the project, "Violations of environmental rights and environmental damages ignore distinctions of ethnicity, gender, age, social or economic status."
For this reason, I think Article 5 should be Article 1, with the somewhat broader text.

1- The entire State has a legal obligation to widely disseminate to its citizens what are considered to be "environmental damages" within the scope of the Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment, their consequences, and what the consequences will be if they occur.

Because: each individual has a particular worldview; many people are misinformed and do not have a systemic vision of the environment where we live; only what has been widely warned should be charged; although we may think that everyone knows the importance of preserving the environment and human rights, not all people know.

I apologize to you both for my arrogance to make suggestions for your work, which I considered very good. But I always defend that in the first place comes the exhaustive disclosure of the necessary information. Then comes the rules.



Caros Larry e Flora, considerei a proposta do Projeto muito boa e gostei das sugestões de mudanças que vocês propõem.
Minha sugestão, para vocês, é uma pequena alteração, que pode ser considerada mais um adendo.
De acordo com o projeto: "Violações de direitos ambientais e danos ambientais ignoram distinções de etnia, gênero, idade, status social ou econômico".
Por este motivo, penso que o Artigo 5 deveria ser o Artigo 1, com o texto um pouco mais amplo.
1-Todo o Estado tem obrigação legal de divulgar amplamente para os seus cidadãos o que são considerados “danos ambientais” , no âmbito do Projeto de Diretrizes sobre Direitos Humanos e Meio Ambiente, as consequências deles e quais serão as consequências caso eles ocorram.
Isso porque: cada indivíduo tem uma visão de mundo particular; muitas pessoas são desinformadas e não tem uma visão sistema do meio onde vivemos; somente deve ser cobrado aquilo que foi amplamente avisado; embora nós possamos pensar que todo mundo sabe a importância de preservar o meio ambiente e os direitos humanos, nem todas as pessoas sabem.
Peço desculpas para vocês pela minha arrogância de fazer sugestões para o trabalho de vocês, que eu considerei muito bom. Mas sempre defendo que em primeiro lugar vem a divulgação exaustiva das informações necessárias. Depois as regras.

Betita Horn said...

PS. The 29 also deals, basically, with the same subject. I think it would be interesting to put items 5 and 29 together in an ample and enlightening 1. A good introductory item.