Two smiley Brazilian indigenous women

Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & GovernanceAreas of expertise

Human rights

We are investigating the points of contact and tensions between environmental law and human rights. We are particularly interested in:

  • the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities as the holders of traditional knowledge and as ecosystem stewards
  • the right to water
  • the right to food
  • the right to development
  • the right to health
  • the right to science
  • procedural rights (access to information, participation in decision-making, access to justice) and environmental assessments
  • human rights and climate justice

“For a long time there has been a lot of discussion and debate over the relationship between human rights law and environmental harm. It’s clear now that in many ways the environment can affect our enjoyment of human rights. So that it’s important to protect the environment in order to be able to safeguard other human rights. Also, it’s important to honour human rights, respect human rights in order to be able to safeguard the environment. But many things about their relationship remain unclear.”

John Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment

We are involved in a variety of research and knowledge-exchange activities, including:

  • Elisa Morgera has been invited to the expert meeting of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment on biodiversity and ecosystems in September 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland 
  • the BeneLex team is investigating how the concept of fair and equitable benefit-sharing with indigenous peoples and local communities may contribute to the respect of their human rights in the context of biodiversity, climate, oceans and agricultural law, including in connection with business responsibility to respect human rights 
  • the BeneLex team is collaborating with the Geneva Academy of International humanitarian law and human rights in organising the second edition of its training on the protection of human rights & the environment in 2017 
  • Elisa Morgera and Saskia Vermeylen are members of the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and Environment   

Publications on Human Rights

Check our publications in the area of human rights here.