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Environmental Human Rights: Paradigm of Indivisibility

15 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2011  

Erin Daly

Widener University Delaware Law School

Date Written: January 19, 2011


While scholars may disagree as to the scope and depth of the indivisibility of rights, or about the nature of the indivisibility claim, it is clear that the specter of indivisibility is most pertinent with regard to some rights than others. The constitutional right to a healthy environment is perhaps the paradigmatic example of the indivisibility claim. Environmental rights are inseparable from many other rights, including (depending on the factual nature of the claim) the right to life, to health, to dignity, to subsistence, to employment, to property and so on. Sometimes the relationship between the environmental and other claims is positive, as when remedying the environmental damage will promote the right to health, but sometimes it is negative, as when, for instance, jobs are lost when the environmental damage is remedied. This paper explores the interlocking nature of environmental and other human rights and suggests how courts should respond to the challenge of indivisibility in the context of enforcing fundamental environmental rights.

Keywords: environmental law, human rights, indivisbility, constitutional law

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Daly, Erin, Environmental Human Rights: Paradigm of Indivisibility (January 19, 2011). Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-05. Available at SSRN: or

Erin Daly (Contact Author)

Widener University Delaware Law School ( email )

4601 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803-0406
United States
302-477-2143 (Phone)
304-477-2257 (Fax)

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