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Council of Europe and the Right to a Healthy Environment

Masa Marochini

In this paper, the focus will be on the right to a healthy environment as developed under the European Convention on Human Rights (Convention) and under the European Social Charter (Charter). The case law where the European Court of Human Rights has been willing to require the protection of persons from serious environmental pollution under the aegis of Article 8 will be examined. In relation to those issues, the discussion that was led on making an Additional protocol to the Convention, on the Right to a Healthy Environment will be presented. What I will try to show is how the Convention's system of protection, despite the Court's acceptance of 'the healthy environment' cases, is not the best solution for the environmental issues. Furthermore, I will look at the Charter and its machinery of protection- the European Committee on Social Rights (ECSR). The ECSR's role and practice is now quite similar to the other international human rights tribunals, most importantly to the European Court. The reason for doing that is to show how maybe nowadays, considering all the problems with which the Convention system is facing, this is one of the issues that might be better left to the Charter system.

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