1 October 2008
Drafting an additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights, concerning the right to a healthy environment
Motion for a recommendation
presented by Mr Marquet and others
This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it
The Assembly reaffirms the importance it attaches to issues relating to the environment and considers that living in a healthy environment is a fundamental right of the citizen.
Climate change, destruction of the ozone layer, desertification, lack of fresh water, industrial pollution, noise, light and other disturbance are all factors that have an adverse effect on the lives of Europeans, and against which they have no legal remedy.
International law relating to the environment is currently characterised by numerous treaties, most of which were adopted in the wake of disasters affecting the environment. These treaties are only rarely implemented, moreover.
The European Convention on Human Rights already provides individual protection against environmental degradation. Such protection is insufficient, however, as even when the potential danger is considerable, violation occurs only when an individual is directly endangered. For example, no legal action could be taken against a source of industrial pollution until after individuals had suffered the consequences thereof and were able to produce medical records to prove it. The application of the precautionary principle is in no way stipulated in the Convention as it stands at present.
The Assembly accordingly considers that in order to guarantee citizens the right to live in a healthy, safe environment, this right should be incorporated into the European Convention on Human Rights through an additional protocol. Such a supplement to the Convention would also be a logical reflection of the way in which the concept of “human rights” has evolved since the Convention was drawn up.
Accordingly, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers draft an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, concerning the recognition of the right to a healthy environment.
Group of the European People’s Party
SOC: Socialist Group
EDG: European Democratic Group
ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
UEL: Group of the Unified European Left
NR: not registered in a group