Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2013


International concerns in the areas of human rights, health, and environment have expanded considerably in the past several decades. International environmental law primarily focuses on environmental damage, rather than its impact on human beings. The focus of environmental treaties is primarily on constraining environmentally deleterious behavior, rather than preventing injuries to people. Part I of this paper will discuss the significance of environmental protection for indigenous peoples. Part II will analyze the linkage between environmental and human rights, as well as the lack of a direct enforcement mechanism for redressing violations of environmental rights. It will also describe the existing legal framework for addressing violations of environmental rights in the Inter-American Human Rights System. Part III will propose a solution to the lack of a mechanism for direct enforcement of the right to a healthy environment by suggesting a new enforcement clause for the San Salvador Protocol. Finally, Part III will propose the framework for enforcement of the right to a healthy environment.