Human Rights Law – Protection of the Environment and Environmental Rights through Criminal Law

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To consider: History has been witness to many deliberate acts aimed at destroying the natural environment in order to achieve strategic goals. Recent (and not so recent) examples include:
1. Towards the end of the first Iraq conflict, 736 Kuwaiti oil well heads were deliberately ignited by retreating Iraqi forces.
2. The draining of the al-Hawizeh and al-Hammar marshes in southern Iraq by the Saddam regime, effectively destroying the livelihood of the 500,000 Marsh Arabs who had inhabited the area.
3. The razing of Dili, East Timor, by Indonesian troops and paramilitary forces in 1999 after the East Timorese people voted for independence from Indonesia.
4. The effects of the use of certain weapons during armed conflict, such as the effects of Napalm and Agent Orange during the Vietnam war, and significant damage in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the use of nuclear weapons in WWII.
In recent years we have also seen very serious accidents resulting in massive environmental damage and pollution. Examples are:
1. The Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989 which resulted in approximately 38,000 metric tonnes of crude oil being spilled, affecting 1300 miles of Alaskan coastline.
2. The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster which resulted in radiation being spread over a 20 mile radius. Following the accident, 116,000 people were evacuated and between 1990 and 1995 an additional 210,000 people were resettled.
3. The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, which gushed for 87 days, and was the biggest accidental marine oil spill in history.
4. The 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown and release of radioactive materials, triggered by an earthquake and tsunami – the biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
This negotiation involves:
1. Member States of the General Assembly (comprising representatives from both developed and developing countries) wishing to sponsor a resolution in general terms calling for the protection of the environment through international criminal law, but leaving the details of protection to each individual State; (Group 3.1) ****I’m refutting hypothetical possible arguments that I can create, that they may bring to light****
2. Representatives of international environmental groups, calling for mandatory protection of the environment, for cases of very serious environmental damage caused either deliberately or accidentally, through a new international convention on “Crimes Against the Environment”. (Group 3.2) ***I’m representing this group****

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