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An Overview Of The Characteristics And Controversies Of Human Rights

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Chapter Summary

The interrelationship between human rights and the environment materialises in the various human rights approaches to environmental issues, which encompass the expansion or re-interpretation of existing human rights, the reliance on procedural rights, and the conceptualisation of a distinct human right to environment. The trend towards environmental protection constitutes an innovative and sophisticated legal tool of the 21st century. In order to critically examine these approaches, this chapter talks about three theories to explain and capture the various nuances, viewpoints and controversies surrounding the legal and philosophical conceptualisation of environmental issues as human rights: (1) the expansion theory; (2) the 'environmental democracy' theory; and (3) the genesis theory. The first two theories correspond to the greening of existing procedural and substantive human rights, while the genesis theory explains the development and emergence of a distinct right to environment in international law.

Keywords:environmental democracy theory; expansion theory; genesis theory; human rights



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