Human Rights and Environment (LAW-795Q-001)
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Earth Rights are those rights that reflect a combined focus on human rights and the environment, and recognize the inextricable nature of both the protection of, and harm to, human beings, communities and the planet. The intersection of human rights and the environment is a topical and rapidly evolving field, and an emerging framework for legal advocacy, education and activism. This course will examine historical trends, theoretical and legal issues; examine local cases involving issues such as indigenous rights and environmental justice; and global legal and policy debates such as the link between climate change and human rights. In particular, the seminar will explore the increasing power of corporations in the global economy, the ways in which corporate activities (particularly by extractive industries) are often connected to abuses of human rights and the environment, and legal advances in the regulation of transnational corporate activity. Students will examine the linkages between the two fields, such as the political and civil rights of environmental activists, the close relationship of a clean environment to economic, social and cultural rights, and the emerging right to a healthy environment. They will emerge from this course with a coherent perspective on major events and trends involving development, corporate accountability, and the global justice movement, and the legal and advocacy strategies being used in various fora to address these trends.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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First Class Readings
Week 1: Introduction to Human Rights and the Environment; Earth Rights
Reading: Greer and Giannini, Earth Rights: Linking the Quests for Human Rights and Environmental Protection, p. 6-31 and Draft Declaration on Principles of Human Rights and the Environment: http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/1994-dec.htm