Take-Aways from an Advisory Opinion by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights: How Does a Human Rights Forum Give Guidance to Global Environmental Protection?

Written by: Siyi Shen, Global Environmental Law Graduate Fellow On February 8, 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (the IA Court) issued a groundbreaking advisory opinion (2018 Opinion) in response to a request by Columbia recognizing the right to a healthy environment as a fundamental human right that protects current and future generations. The IA Court also noted that a country is obligated to prevent significant environmental damages both within and outside its borders, including damages caused by climate change. This is a precedent-setting opinion that may reshape the international landscape of climate litigation and cross-border environmental litigation. The IA Court has advisory jurisdiction among all members of the Organization of American States (OAS). At the request of the OAS members, the IA Court issues advisory opinions to interpret the American Convention of Human Rights and other human rights instruments. Advisory opinions are binding on all states…

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