Parliament of the World’s Religions Endorses Call to Recognize the Right to a Healthy Environment as a Basic Human Right at the United Nations

Media Release
For Immediate Distribution

Parliament of the World’s Religions Endorses Call to Recognize the Right to a Healthy Environment as a Basic Human Right at the United Nations

CHICAGO, IL (June 5, 2022) - In observance of World Environment Day 2022, the Parliament of the World’s Religions (PoWR) has pledged its support of the UN Human Rights Council in calling for the UN General Assembly to adopt the right to a healthy environment as a basic and universal human right. An official resolution by the Parliament of the World’s Religions was adopted on May 13th recognizing the interdependence of all human rights and asserting that the Right to a Healthy Environment is fundamental to all others. 

The organization’s Executive Director, the Rev. Stephen Avino, praised the resolution affirming that, “The right to a healthy environment is unequivocally a right inherent to all people on this planet.”

The UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Over the past 20 years, the effort to include The Right to a Healthy Environment among other basic human rights and fundamental freedoms has been growing ever-stronger. Today, the Right to a Healthy Environment is recognized as an essential human right in law or policy by more than 80% of the member states of the United Nations, by several states in the United States, and by more than 1300 civil society organizations around the world.

In October 2021, the UN Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 48/13, declaring the Right to a Healthy Environment to be a basic human right, and calling for the UN General Assembly to pass a formal resolution recognizing it as such. The General Assembly’s vote is expected in the summer or fall of 2022.

“Human Rights are indivisible and all depend on a healthy and sustainable environment. It's critical that the General Assembly recognize the Right to a Healthy Environment as a basic Human Right with the largest possible majority," said David Hales, Co-Chair of Climate Action for the Parliament. "We're calling on the Governments of all  Member States to actively support this Resolution."

The Parliament of the World’s Religions believes that it is critical that the General Assembly pass the Right to a Healthy Environment with the largest possible majority. The Parliament calls upon the Governments of the Member States to actively support the UN Human Rights Council’s Resolution.

The text of the Parliament Trustees’ own resolution affirming and fully supporting the recognition of the Right to a Healthy Environment, along with additional background about the issue, and how individuals and communities can get involved in the interfaith efforts to support this right are available at ParliamentOfReligions.org/HealthyEnvironment