Implementation And Evaluation of Human Rights Norms in Environmental Protection in Nigeria
Background of the Research
The importance of observing human rights in any legal system and its significance cannot be overemphasized. Notably, one of the lessons of globalization and the new international economic order is the increasing awareness that the enforcement of human rights is a cornerstone in the realization of sustainable development, nationally and internationally. To this end, looking at the concept and nature of sustainable development, and what it professes, the importance of a legal system lies not only in ensuring civil liberties but in addition creating a viable environment where economic development and social equity can be enjoyed.
Nigeria has ratified plethora of human rights treaties that seek to set globally applied standards. Some of these standards, especially in recent times are not limited to civil liberty domain rather they serve as prelude to the realization of both socio-economic, cultural and solidarity rights which make room for the realization of sustainable development . These rights in essence form the new international economic and legal order and thus emerges the concept of sustainable development which “environmental law’’ seeks to promote.
ESSAY AND DISSERTATIONS ON ENVIRONMENTAL LAW IN NIGERIA
Within the context of environmental law however, are the ontological and historical dimensions. These dimensions depict a mother-child correlation or evolution theory. It is established that human rights of the second and third generations which of course, are developed from that of the first generation, all as reminiscent of natural law, are now being codified with minimum standards. These standards areraised by international law and made tangible by municipal law. Thus, emerges the consciousness that there are environmental rights, such as the right to a clean and healthy environment, the right to development, the right to participate in the developmental and approval process, the right to environmental information, the right to compensation and the right of access to justice. They are however, the corollaries of the right to life.
In addition to this development, in 2012, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have strengthened their collaboration in the field of the
nexus between human rights and environmental protection during the United Nations conference on sustainable development. In the same year, the United Nations Human Rights Council as part of its special procedures appointed an Independent Expert on human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment and appointed Professor Knox to this position. In line with his appointment as an Independent Expert and as a part of his obligation, in 2014, at the regional level, a consultation was made by the Independent Expert on the constitution of environmental rights at Johannesburg, South Africa. The consultation was convened by the United Nations Independent Expert on human rights and environment and the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) and the legal Resource Centre (LPC).1
This studytherefore analyzes the standard of observation of environmental rights in Nigeria, and challenges of enforceability in order to develop animproved legal framework for applicability of environmental rights in Nigeria. We would seek to determine to what extent Nigerian legal system implements and enforces these natural law rights.
Statement of Problem
There has been much concern by Nigerian citizens and advocacy groups who have raised issues and cast aspersion on the environmental impasseand thereaction of people towards corporate attitude in curbing environmental hazards resulting from industrial activities.A recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the pollution of environment in the Niger-Delta area of Nigeria, as well as the serial conflicts between host communities, federal agencies and the industrial community, illustrates a lucid account of human rights problems in relation to environmental protection. This looms large in the oil and gas industry