Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Although environmental rights are not explicitly enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it has become generally recognized that environmental rights are closely linked with the right to life, which is the most fundamental jus cogens norm, without which no other rights can be exercised. As the environmental crisis has accelerated in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, constitutional drafters around the globe have explicitly enshrined in their constitutions some form of obligation to protect the environment or other environmental rights. Consequently, states have come to realize the existence of a duty to prevent grave environmental destruction, particularly in the transfrontier context. The emergence of bilateral and multilateral agreements designed to protect the environment, in addition to the weight of judicial authority and scholarly opinion, supports the proposition that the duty to prevent environmental destruction has attained the status of customary international law.