Human Dignity and Environmental Outcomes in Pakistan

Pakistan Law Review, v. 10, 2019

28 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2020

See all articles by James R. May

James R. May

Widener University Delaware Law School

Erin Daly

Widener University Delaware Law School

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

Pakistan is one of the few countries worldwide whose Constitution does not explicitly address the environment. The higher courts have filled the vacuum by turning to the constitutional right to dignity, which the Constitution says is ‘inviolable’, as the basis for improving environmental outcomes to water, sanitation, and a stable climate, to name a few. This paper hazards an explanation as to the judicial reasoning behind this development. It posits that Pakistan takes the idea of dignity under law so seriously as to embrace environmental matters. In recent years, the courts have increasingly recognised the links between environmental protection and the enjoyment of human rights, including in particular, the human right to dignity. This article maintains that this is a positive development. As a conceptual matter, attention to human dignity foregrounds the impacts on human beings of environmental decisions, including decisions that contribute towards addressing climate change issues. It requires courts to address the ways in which those decisions diminish the ability of people to manage their own lives, often in ways that disproportionately affect those who are already the most vulnerable and marginalised.

Keywords: environmental law, right to dignity, constitutional law, human rights, environmental protection, Pakistan

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

May, James and Daly, Erin, Human Dignity and Environmental Outcomes in Pakistan (2019). Pakistan Law Review, v. 10, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3504768

James May (Contact Author)

Widener University Delaware Law School ( email )

4601 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803-0406
United States

Erin Daly

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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