October 17, 2021
On 8 October 2021, the Human Rights Council recognized that having a clean and healthy environment is a basic human right. Resolution 48/13 on the “human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment” was adopted by the Council during its 48th regular session. Another resolution (48/14) prepares the way for the establishment of a Special Rapporteur on the human rights impacts of climate change.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “The Human Rights Council’s decisive action in recognising the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is about protecting people and planet – the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. It is also about protecting the natural systems which are basic preconditions to the lives and livelihoods of all people, wherever they live.”
A short article written by our volunteer Tara Ornstein for our Topics section shows how the environment, health and human rights are interlinked, and highlights what health workers can do to protect the environment, as well as their patients.