Event Title

The Human Right to a Healthy Environment

Location

Williman Room, Benson Center

Event Website

http://law.scu.edu/ai1ec_event/2014-journal-of-international-law-symposium-2

Start Date

24-1-2014 9:45 AM

End Date

24-1-2014 11:15 AM

Description

This paper will trace the emergence of a human right to a healthy environment, and will detail the potential procedural and substantive components of such a right. Having laid this groundwork, this paper will explore why substantive environmental rights have gained less traction in international legal discourse than have procedural rights, situating the debate over environmental human rights in a broader narrative about the relationship between procedural guarantees and substantive outcomes. Focusing particularly on the rights of prior informed consent, and access to justice, this paper will map out a role for private, non-state actors as front-line human rights decision-makers in the context of resource extraction decisions that impact indigenous communities. Building on this analysis of the human rights obligations of non-state actors, this article will suggest a state responsibility to create an effective regulatory system capable of enforcing those obligations. Finally, turning to the United States, this paper will demonstrate how interpreting domestic legal obligations through the lens of human rights can give meaning to a legislative and regulatory commitment to participation, fairness and accountability, thereby making the domestic regulatory process not only better and fairer, but also more likely to be perceived as legitimate by the general public.

Comments

Speaker Biographies:

Marcos A. Orellana
Dr. Marcos A. Orellana (LL.M., S.J.D.) is Director of CIEL’s Environmental Health Program and Adjunct Professor at the American University Washington College of Law. At CIEL Dr Orellana has worked with NGOs and local communities worldwide to strengthen tools to protect the vital functions of the planet and secure global environmental justice, including with respect to chemicals and waste, oceans and biodiversity, and trade and investment. Prior to joining CIEL, Dr. Orellana was a Fellow to the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law of the University of Cambridge, UK. He also was a Visiting Scholar with the Environmental Law Institute in Washington DC and Instructor Professor of international law at the Universidad de Talca, Chile. Dr Orellana has acted as legal counsel to the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on international environmental issues. In that capacity Dr Orellana has worked with MEAs and the Rio+20 process. Dr Orellana has also acted as consultant to several International Institutions, including the UN Environment Programme and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Margarette May Macaulay
Margarette May Macaulay is a Jamaican attorney and former Judge at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Ms. Macaulay continues her practice as an Attorney-at-Law and women’s and children’s advocate, with her own Chambers in Jamaica. She has worked on several emblematic cases involving indigenous land rights. She is also a Notary Public and a Supreme Court Mediator and Associate Arbitrator, devoting her time to addressing matters of Constitutional and Fundamental Human Rights Law, Property Rights Law and Conveyance, General Contract Law, Estates Law and Criminal Law. Ms. Macaulay chaired the Family Law Committee of the Jamaican Bar Association and is a member of the Law Reform Committee, the Publications Committee, and the Human Rights and Constitutional Committee. She is a long serving member of the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council of Jamaica. She is also a member of several human rights organizations nationally and internationally, including the Coalition for an International Criminal Court and the Women’s Gender Initiative, both in the Hague. Ms. Macaulay has presented papers in international, regional, and national conferences and has facilitated in training sessions. She also taught a course on human rights at American University, Washington College of Law in 2012 and the University of Peace 2012 and 2013. Ms. Macaulay earned her law degree from the University of London, Holborn College.

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Jan 24th, 9:45 AM Jan 24th, 11:15 AM

The Human Right to a Healthy Environment

Williman Room, Benson Center

This paper will trace the emergence of a human right to a healthy environment, and will detail the potential procedural and substantive components of such a right. Having laid this groundwork, this paper will explore why substantive environmental rights have gained less traction in international legal discourse than have procedural rights, situating the debate over environmental human rights in a broader narrative about the relationship between procedural guarantees and substantive outcomes. Focusing particularly on the rights of prior informed consent, and access to justice, this paper will map out a role for private, non-state actors as front-line human rights decision-makers in the context of resource extraction decisions that impact indigenous communities. Building on this analysis of the human rights obligations of non-state actors, this article will suggest a state responsibility to create an effective regulatory system capable of enforcing those obligations. Finally, turning to the United States, this paper will demonstrate how interpreting domestic legal obligations through the lens of human rights can give meaning to a legislative and regulatory commitment to participation, fairness and accountability, thereby making the domestic regulatory process not only better and fairer, but also more likely to be perceived as legitimate by the general public.

http://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/scujil_symposia/environment/2014/1