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Thesis (Master's)

University of Akureyri > Hug- og félagsvísindasvið > Meistaraprófsritgerðir >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/43056

  • The rights of children and future generations of the European Arctic to a healthy environment
  • Master's
  • The consequences of climate change on the Arctic’s environment and its inhabitants are evident. Among all people, children and yet unborn generations that will live in the Arctic in the future are most vulnerable to the implications of climate change. In view of their special vulnerability, the question of legal protection arises, and more particularly, what rights these groups can claim to be protected against the negative impacts of climate change. Central to this question is the debate surrounding the human right to a healthy environment. Even though such a right is not recognized in international law yet, recent developments at the intersection between environmental protection and human rights might serve to argue in such a direction.
    Under the auspices of the European Court of Human Rights, a significant amount of environmental jurisprudence has been developed based on the evolving interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights under the doctrine of ‘living instrument’. Therefore, it is possible to analyse to what extent the right to a healthy environment of children and future Arctic generations is guaranteed in this case law. Furthermore, the ECtHR is about to decide the first climate change cases in its history.
    The analysis shows that the right to a healthy environment of the children and future Arctic generations is somehow protected by the ECtHR; however, only in a limited way. The environmental jurisprudence of the ECtHR is quite advanced, but the environment is not protected by the ECHR per se. The individualistic approach of the human rights law requires that the individual is personally affected by the environmental harm, thus the global character of the climate change impacts is not reflected in the ECtHR’s case law so far. It seems that the ECtHR is willing to give its opinion on the problem of climate change and to contribute to its mitigation. However, the analysis shows some of the ECHR’s rules should be reassessed and the interpretation of the relevant rights should be extended if fundamental outcomes will arise.

  • Dec 1, 2022
  • http://hdl.handle.net/1946/43056

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