UBC lawyer named new UN watchdog for human rights and environment

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The Star Vancouver

VANCOUVER—The newly appointed United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and environment says he’s “embarrassed” and “frustrated” that his home country has so far refused to recognize the human right to a healthy environment.

It’s something David Boyd, an environmental lawyer with the University of British Columbia, hopes to change in his new role.

More than 100 other countries, including France, Finland, and Norway, already recognize the right to a healthy environment in law.

“You can rest assured that I will be calling on the Government of Canada … to join the majority of the world’s countries who have recognized this fundamental human right,” he said.

Boyd, an internationally renowned expert in this area, is the second special rapporteur on human rights and the environment. He takes over the “global watchdog” role from John Knox, an international law professor based at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.