Intergenerational Equity and Large-Scale Mining in Latin America: The Implications of Limited Human Rights Protections for Future Generations
61 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2013
Date Written: September 14, 2012
The guiding principle of International Human Rights Law (IHRL) is “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family,” otherwise known as universality. In order to ensure the universality of access to justice despite social realities that are far from static, IHRL is necessarily an ever-evolving web of living instruments. However, an examination of large-scale mining in Latin America and legal evidence drawn from around the globe demonstrates that the ability of present generations to interfere with the human rights of future generations is not adequately reflected in the law today.
This paper compares the omission by IHRL to considerations of intergenerational solidarity elsewhere in international law. Emphasis on the long-term implications of large-scale mining underscores that this oversight is not inert, but rather has an impact on certain human rights of present generations, the ability of future generations to exercise their rights, as well as the ongoing advancement of IHRL itself. With little doubt left as to the possibility for progressive legal development or the need for such development; the paper concludes with commentary on persistent barriers to formalizing intergenerational justice and an urgent call to action.
Keywords: Intergenerational justice, intergenerational equity, intergenerational solidarity, international human rights law, international environmental law, future generations, economic, social and cultural rights, sustainable development, large scale mining, extractive industries, Latin America
JEL Classification: K33, K32, K31, L72, A12, F14, I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation