Professor John Knox makes first fact-finding visit to France as U.N. Independent Expert on human rights, environment

Photo of Wake Forest Law Professor John Knox

Professor John Knox, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur for Human Rights and the Environment

GENEVA  – The United Nations Independent Expert on human rights and the environment, Wake Forest Law Professor John Knox, will undertake an official visit to France from Oct. 20-24, 2014, to assess how the country is implementing human rights relating to environmental protection and to identify good practices.

“France is at the forefront at linking human rights with environmental protection,” Knox said, praising it for being the first country to devote an entire constitutional declaration to the right to the environment.

The French Environment Charter raises sustainable development to the highest level in France’s legal structure, alongside the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the preamble to the 1946 Constitution.

“However,” Knox stressed, “it is important to assess the lessons learned and challenges faced in the country with regard to realisation of such environmental rights, as well as how it is addressing global environmental challenges with human rights impacts, such as climate change.”

During his five-day visit, at the invitation of the French government, the U.N. Independent Expert will meet government officials and experts, as well as representatives of civil society.

Knox will present his preliminary observations on the visit at a press conference on the last day of the mission, Friday, Oct. 24, at 11 a.m., at Salle René Cassin, Commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme (CNCDH), 35 rue saint Dominique, 75007 Paris.

Knox was appointed as the Independent Expert on human rights and the environment in July 2012 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. The U.N. human rights experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the U.N. Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Environment/IEEnvironment/Pages/IEenvironmentIndex.aspx

Read the Independent Expert’s latest report to the UN Human Rights Council: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session25/Pages/ListReports.aspx