Environmental Jurisprudence of the European and Inter-American Courts of Human Rights: Comparative Insights
in B. Boer (ed.), The Environmental Dimension of Human Rights (OUP, Forthcoming)
Posted: 13 Nov 2013 Last revised: 13 Dec 2014
Date Written: November 11, 2013
This chapter discusses several critical aspects of the environmental jurisprudence which has emerged in the European and Inter-American human rights systems. Despite the present quantitative and qualitative differences, the overall purpose is to determine whether the doctrines developed by the regional courts overseeing the systems in question militate in favour of a future, broad convergence of the respective case law relevant to environmental protection. The chapter first assesses the Inter-American case law relating to participatory environmental rights. In addition to the procedural rights to environmental information, participation and access to justice, this notion is broadly understood as encompassing the fundamental freedoms of thought, expression and association that protect the activities of environmental activists and associations. Indeed, the main lessons to be learned by the European system from its Inter-American counterpart arise in the area of participatory environmental rights. To illustrate this point, an in-depth review of the development, purpose and scope of procedural environmental rights under the ECtHR case law is carried out. Next, the chapter explains why, despite certain ambiguities emerging from relevant practice, the Inter-American system is decidedly more prone to public interest environmental litigation than its European equivalent. The purpose is to set the stage for the ensuing appraisal of certain environmental landmarks that characterize the Inter-American jurisprudence on indigenous peoples.
Keywords: environment and human rights, European Court of Human Rights, Inter-American human rights system
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation