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Bangkok Consultation Report on EHRDs and Good Practices

Together with OHCHR and UNEP, the Independent Expert convened a regional expert meeting in May to discuss the relationship between human rights obligations and environmental protection, with a focus on environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) in Asia and the Pacific. Continue reading »

Mary Robinson Appointed as Special Envoy for Climate Change

Mary Robinson of Ireland has been appointed as the Special Envoy for Climate Change by the Secretary General of the United Nations. The appointment was made prior to the 2014 Climate Summit hosted by the Secretary General in New York on 23 September 2014. (more…)

Independent Expert Statement for World Environment Day

The United Nations Independent Expert on human rights and the environment, John Knox, encourages States to fulfill their human rights obligations relating to environmental protection. On World Environment Day, Mr. Knox also urges governments worldwide to protect those who defend the environment necessary for our enjoyment of human rights. (more…)

Human Rights and the Environment: Carrying the Conversation Forward – ASEM Seminar on Human Rights

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Independent Expert John Knox served as a keynote speaker at the Asia-Europe Meeting on Human Rights and Environment, in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 21 October 2013. He spoke about the benefits of a human rights approach to environmental protection. Knox acknowledged that human rights and environmental issues have historically been discussed in separation from one another, but stressed that this is quickly changing. See “Human Rights and the Environment: Carrying the Conversation Forward – ASEM Seminar on Human Rights”

Minamata Convention on Mercury: UN experts call for a full global response to a global scourge

United Nations Special Rapporteur on toxic waste, Marc Pallemaerts, and Independent Expert on human rights and the environment, John Knox, laud the signing of the world's first global treaty to control mercury by 140 countries and territories in Minamata City, Japan. The experts urge governments across the world to take steps toward controlling mercury poisoning by ratifying the treaty, which must be ratified by 50 countries before it can come into effect. Although the Convention represents an important first step towards protecting human rights to health and life from mercury, the experts urge countries to take into account all obligations under human rights law in implementing the Convention, including providing for full participation in environmental decision-making and providing appropriate remedies in the event of harm. Continue reading »

Independent Expert Concludes Costa Rica Mission With Press Statement

San Jose, August 1, 2013 - The mission of the Independent Expert of the United Nations on human rights and environment, John Knox, ended today with the presentation of preliminary findings and conclusions. Knox's mission came at the invitation of the Government of Costa Rica, from 28 July to 1 August 2013 and surveyed a broad agenda with public institutions, civil society organizations, UN agencies, industry and academia, as well as visits to various Costa Rican communities. Continue reading »

Costa Rica: UN expert to assess the linking of human rights with environmental protection

GENEVA (24 July 2013) – The United Nations Independent Expert on human rights and the environment, John Knox, will visit Costa Rica from 28 July to 1 August 2013, to assess how the country is implementing human rights relating to environmental protection. Continue reading »

“If we fail our environment, we fail to protect our human rights,” warn UN experts on Earth Day

GENEVA (22 April 2013) – “We continue to fail to protect and conserve our environment in many respects, often with dire consequences for the enjoyment of human rights, despite great progress in some areas,” today warned a group of United Nations independent experts on the occasion of Earth Day 2013. Listen to full interview or read the full article.

Eight UN experts, one message: “Progress and equality must go hand-in-hand with cooperation for water”

Environment and human rights: the link is there, and so is the States’ obligation to protect them – UN expert

GENEVA (7 March 2013) – In presenting his report to the Human Rights Council, the United Nations Independent Expert on human rights and environment, John Knox, highlighted the urgent need to clarify the human rights obligations linked to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.