The Protection of the Environmental Rights and Interests of Children: A South African Perspective
Author: Rongedzayi Fambasayi
Affiliations: LLB Hons, PGDip Child Sensitive Social Policies, LLM, Doctoral Researcher, South African Research Chair in Cities, Law and Environmental Sustainability, Faculty of Law, North-West University
Source: Stellenbosch Law Review, Volume 32 Issue 3, 2021, p. 386 – 409
It is becoming increasingly apparent that children are disproportionately vulnerable to environmental harm, taking into account their physical, physiological and developmental characteristics. Environmental degradation threatens children’s enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the right to a clean and healthy environment, the right to life, the right to health, the right to the highest attainable standard of living, and the right to dignity. This article evaluates the extent to which the South African legal framework protects the environment-related rights and interests of children. In order to achieve this objective, the article outlines the body of international and African regional human rights law and the environmental law and policy that protects and promotes the environment-related rights and interests of children. The contribution also discusses the mechanisms for redress at the international, regional and national levels in the event of environmental harm to the rights and interests of children. The body of international and African regional law sets the expectations and normative benchmarks to measure the compliance of the national (South African) legal and policy framework.