How international law could help victims of environmental degradation | Monica Feria-Tinta and Simon Milnes

Landmark court rulings could help people get redress where one state’s actions cause damage such as sea or air pollution across country bordersSomething moved in the machineries of international law earlier this month. A turn in the lock, a small latch releasing a door. How big, how wide, remains to be seen. But nonetheless a landmark in progress towards meaningful protection of the environment.

On 7 February 2018, an international court in Costa Rica – the Inter-American court of human rights – released an advisory opinion on environment and human rights. It not only recognises the right to a healthy environment as fundamental to the existence of humanity, but also has the potential to unlock real cross-border remedies for the victims of environmental degradation.

Related: International law stays silent on the responsibility for climate change

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