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This must be based on the fulfilment of constitutional, legislative and executive obligations and the acceptance of authority, responsibility, transparency and accountability.
Introduction Increased awareness of the notion of human rights and the inter-disciplinary analyses and interpretation of these globally accompanies a particular focus on environmental rights. Today, these rights feature in a number of state constitutions and international law instruments.
Environmental rights generally require respect and protection by state governments as well as positive action on the part of organs of state towards its fulfilment. Some fundamental rights may be worthless when not guaranteeing a means of formal participation by right-holders in their implementation.
Based on a survey of literature and jurisprudence, the article considers substantive environmental rights as human rights and the notion of public participation generally.
It also puts forward some ideas on the relation between public participation and the fulfilment of environmental rights and how this may feed into good environmental governance. The article does not aim to contribute to the discourse on good governance or good environmental governance per se.
The article is limited to the attention generally devoted to public participation processes in an environmental rights context — analysis of its real-life successes or failures falls beyond the scope of this contribution.
Environmental rights as human rights To critique on the role of public participation in the fulfilment of environmental rights, it is important to address a number of foundational questions. What are environmental rights and where do we find it? The answers to these questions depend on context and location but it is possible to derive from international jurisprudence and writings a generically applicable response.
At the superficial level and in a collective sense environmental rights refer to the basic rights contained in the environmental clauses of instruments such as the International Bill of Rights, 5 regional human rights instruments, 6 some international and regional environmental law instruments 7 and domestic constitutions.
Basic rights to a qualified environment beneficial to human life and well-being that belong to members of existing and future generations. Environmental rights are rights of action and rights of recipience that consider: Whereas rights of action emphasise what people as right-holders are entitled to do, rights of recipience emphasise what people as right-holders are entitled to expect or receive.
As far as this article is concerned with the role of public participation in the fulfilment of environmental rights, particular attention is paid to environmental rights as autonomous substantive rights of recipience that may require public involvement in their implementation.
The notion of public participation Leaving environmental rights beside for a moment, the questions arise as to what is meant by public participation generally, and why public participation is important in the processes of decision-making, often by democratically elected governors and developers at different levels.
Picolotti 12 defines participation as the real involvement of all social actors in social and political decision-making processes that potentially affect the communities in which they live and work. Public participation also has been described as: All interaction between government and civil society… including the process by which government and civil society open dialogue, establish partnerships, share information, and otherwise interact to design, implement, and evaluate development policies, projects and programs.
This means that in similar cases different patterns may be followed and different instruments, tools, procedures or mechanisms may be used to facilitate public participation.
In South Africa, for example, explicit provision is made for public participation by means of, inter alia, ward committees in local government, public meetings, public comment following press notices and integrated development planning in a range of different laws and policies discussed below.
Wilkinson identifies three general functional categories of public participation: Various participation mechanisms can be classified as performing one of these three functions, but the degree of participation involved in each mechanism is a function of the nature of both the mechanism itself and the given situation.
Wilkinson holds that the trend in developing public participation progress should be toward a variety of mechanisms to perform each of the three functions and flexibility to meet the needs of a given situation.
Still sometimes, more direct participation of citizens to supplement representative democracy is required.
Also, what should be avoided at all cost is that participation becomes limited at the important issue-formulation stage of decision-making processes. In many instances, the only information submitted to the public is a superficial outline of the final form of some project or development as per prior agreement by government bodies, developers and other decision-makers.
This implies that although the notion of public participation is widely advocated, few real-life guidelines exist on how to achieve community involvement. Some other generic dilemmas accompany public participation — especially with regard to the implementation thereof.
Public participation is often viewed as hampering decision-making progress and as preventing swiftness in processes aimed at social and economic development.
Another challenge lies in the fact that uneducated people or people with mala fide intentions often partake in public participation processes, which could affect the merits of their input.
Implicit linkages between public participation and fulfilment of environmental rights The importance of the role of public participation in democratic governance generally is not difficult to comprehend. It is, however, important to understand how and why public participation links with the fulfilment of environmental rights and with environmental governance.
First of all, states are accountable to the international community in terms of international law, and to their own citizens in terms of international law and domestic constitutions.
It is up to each country to seek and develop appropriate means and methods to this effect. However, the Limburg Principles on the Implementation of the International Convention on Social, Cultural and Economic Rights of the Limburg Principles23 the Maastricht Guidelines on Violations of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights of the Maastricht Guidelines 24 and international law jurisprudence are aids that assist in clarifying the meaning and structural parts of the fulfilment of socio-economic rights, such as substantive environmental rights, generally.
From the Limburg Principles it is derived that the fulfilment of environmental rights requires, inter alia: The fulfilment of environmental rights would require, inter alia, that:The United Nations Human Rights Council International Law Essay The core of the United Nations (UN) policy reform was the establishment of a new human rights body.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC or Council) was created by UN General Assembly Resolution 60/ of .
In , the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was made by the U.N. in an effort to make human rights part of international law. The greatest 20th century statements of ‘natural’ or human rights can be dated to , the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
9 Dowrick (ed) Human Rights Problems Birnie and Boyle International Law and the Environment state that the “ the most far-reaching case for environmental rights comes in the form of claims to a decent, healthy or viable environment to a substantive environmental right which involves the promotion of a certain level of environmental quality”.
Anti-Corruption: The Global Fight is a new handbook from IIP Publications that outlines the kinds of corruption, their effects, and the ways that people and governments combat corruption through legislative and civil society actions. International Adoption and Human Rights Violations Essay Adoption is the legal act that severs the parental responsibilities and rights of birth parents and establishes those responsibilities and rights for the adoptive parents - International Adoption and Human Rights Violations Essay introduction.
Until women and girls can live free of fear, violence and insecurity, the world cannot pride itself on being fair and equal, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday, commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, marked annually on 25 November.