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New publication studying the right to a decent environment, especially from the perspective of indigenous peoples

11.1.2005 9:00

The Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law (NIEM/Arctic Centre) has published a new book titled ”The Right to a Decent Environment; with Special Reference to Indigenous Peoples”.

According to research professor Timo Koivurova from NIEM, this thematic is under growing interest, especially in international context. Koivurova perceives that this right was formerly seen as a matter to be dealt with by government officials only but increasingly it is being viewed as an issue of rights, fundamental rights of a citizen or a human rights issue: ”Nowadays over 120 states guarantee the right to a decent environment in their constitutions and various international processes try to clarify what the right requires of states”.

According to Koivurova, at the background of the development of this right is the international process of sustainable development: ”it has exactly been the process of sustainable development that has enabled us to see links between formerly unrelated issues, such as between human rights and environmental protection”. The right to a decent environment relates very strongly to indigenous peoples because of the closer nature connection they possess, and they have themselves seen this right as one manifestation of the special protection they are entitled to in law. ”One present tendency in the work of the organisations of indigenous peoples is their increased emphasis laid on their human rights, including the right to a decent environment”, Koivurova argues.  

The author of this new publication is Tuula Kolari. The publication is part of the joint project between NIEM, the law department of the University of Joensuu and the Human Rights Policy Division of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, which culminated with the expert seminar organised last August in Rovaniemi. The main focus in Kolari’s research report is how this right has been specified in various United Nations processes, especially from the perspective of indigenous peoples.

Sales information: Kolari, Tuula, ”The Right to a Decent Environment; with Special Reference to Indigenous Peoples”. Juridica Lapponica No. 31. Sevenprint Ltd. 2004. 201 pages (price 32,90 euros). The enquiries of how to obtain the book, please contact Marja Collins (marja.collins@ulapland.fi). 

See also the other books published in Juridica Lapponica from the NIEM / Arctic Centre website at http://www.arcticcentre.org/Suomeksi/TIETOA_MEISTa/Julkaisut/Juridica_Lapponica_1994_-.iw3