The study examines the enforcement of human right norms in environmental protection in Nigeria.
The findings reveal that; The result of the findings reveals that the environmental protection rights has been partially implemented in Nigeria; The study reveals that there are both international laws and locals promoting environmental protection rights in Nigeria; Findings revealed that there exist a significant relationship between environmental protection and enforcement of human right norms in Nigeria
The study concluded that there exist a significant relationship between environmental protection and enforcement of human right norms in Nigeria. The study recommended; Government should establish definitive agencies that will be empowered to enforce human right norms in environmental protection in Nigeria; There is need to fund these agencies in order to promote their effectiveness in the enforcement process; The duties of multiple agencies that are existing in Nigeria should be clearly specified in a bid to avoid duplication of functions; Government should be seriously committed to the enforcement of human right norms in environmental protection in Nigeria.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Over the years, researchers across the world have continued to seek knowledge on the concept of environmental protection in national and international discuss (Nyemutu, 2015). As a result, some countries have recognized the idea of environmental protection in their constitutions (Nyemutu, 2015). Nevertheless, much skepticism exists about whether environmental protection right is a genuine human right, and advocates of environmental protection right have been persuading critics that this right merits national and international recognition. Nigeria as institutionalize environmental protection within the framework that correctly enforces human rights norms (Nyemutu, 2015).
Since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment declared at Stockholm in 1972 that humans has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, much has been written about the relationship between the environment particularly environmental protection and human rights (Odinkalu & Christensen, 2012). Ever since then till now, United Nations bodies undertook a number of studies to investigate the relationship between the environment protection and human rights norms and the implications it might have for States in terms of their obligations (United Nations, 2018). Since the proclamation of the Stockholm Declaration, many authors have explored the way that the environment protection helps to facilitate the enjoyment of human rights, and the ways in which human rights law can help promote environmental protection, examining the various theoretical and practical issues which the relationship presents (Odinkalu & Christensen, 2012). The idea of a substantive human right to an environment protection of a particular quality has been a focal point of this research attention and a number of proposals have been advanced for defining or enforcement of the right norms (Odinkalu & Christensen, 2012).
The Environment has been defined as the physical and cultural spaces in which the human species live, reproduce and die. It consists of the water, the atmosphere, land and all living and non-living things that inhabit these spaces. It goes without saying, therefore, that humankind cannot survive without the environment (Bappah, 2013). Some scholars like Galtung (2014) defines the word “Right” as “a privilege,” when used in the context of “Human Rights,” it means “something more basic that one is allowed to be, to do or to have”. Scholars like Laski (2013) sees “Rights”, in fact, as “those conditions of social life without which no man can seek, in general, to be himself at his best. The rights of human beings in the conservation of resources and in the protection of the environment are a vital part of contemporary human right norms such as the right to health and the right to life itself. A damage to the environment can impair all the human right norms spoken of in the UN Universal Declaration of human rights and other human rights instruments. Therefore, environmental protection rights are basic rights without which life on earth will be hazardous and indeed, meaningless (Galtung, 2014). It includes right to clean air, clean water, good soil, right to a balanced and healthy ecology, etc. This is at times subsumed under the term sustainable development.
Human beings are part of nature, and enforcement of human right norms are intertwined with the environment in which they live (Galtung, 2014). Environmental harm interferes with the enjoyment of human rights, and the exercise of human rights helps to protect the environment and to promote sustainable development. The framework principles on human rights and the environment summarize the main human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. They provide integrated and detailed guidance for practical implementation of these obligations, and a basis for their further development as the understanding of the relationship of human rights and the environment continues to evolve (Galtung, 2014).
The framework principles are not exhaustive, many national and international norms are relevant to human rights and environmental protection, and nothing in the framework principles should be interpreted as limiting or undermining standards that provide higher levels of protection under national or international law. Many countries including Nigeria have incorporated environmental rights into their laws but yet its gross violations continue to ensue. Nigeria has ratified plethora of human rights treaties that seek to set globally applied standards. Some of these standards, especially in recent times are not limited to civil liberty domain rather they serve as prelude to the realization of both socio-economic, cultural and solidarity rights which make room for the realization of environmental protection.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There has been a lot of interest by Nigerian citizens and advocacy groups who have raised concerns on the environmental problems and the activities of individuals towards normal attitude of curbing environmental hazards resulting from human and industrial activities. A recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the pollution of environment in Nigeria, as well as the serial conflicts between host communities, federal agencies and the industrial community, illustrates a lucid account of human rights problems in relation to environmental protection. This looms large in almost every sector in Nigeria. In addition, the Report by the United States Department of States (2016) indicates that Nigeria has had a very alarming human rights violation record. The report listed amongst others, environmental related human rights violation.
The impact of environmental degradation on humans and how such impact constitutes violation of human rights has since been established. The US Department Report did also state that human rights conditions in Nigeria and the control measure are below the minimum standards of universal norms particularly that of International Bill of Rights, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
Nigeria is not applauded in human right and environmental protection. Reasons being that the enforcement of environmental rights is faced with challenges of establishing the linkage between human rights and environmental protection, procedural and technical problems caused by judicial attitude among other associated problems. The problem of enforceability of environmental rights posed by lack of knowledge of environmental rights norms is indeed, a problem which this research intends to solve.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to examine the enforcement of human right norms in environmental protection in Nigeria while the following are the specific objectives:
- To examine the environmental protection rights and its level of implementation in Nigeria.
- To identify the international human rights norms and the local laws guiding them in Nigeria.
- To analyze the effects of environmental protection on the enforcement of human right norms in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the environmental protection rights and its level of implementation in Nigeria?
- What are the international human rights norms and the local laws guiding them in Nigeria?
- What are the effects of environmental protection on the enforcement of human right norms in Nigeria?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Findings from this research will useful for government, policy makers, human rights activists and advocates, environmental researchers and the general public on the environmental protection rights, its level of implementation in Nigeria, human right laws in Nigeria and the effect of environmental protection on enforcement of human right norms in Nigeria.
This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of enforcement of human right norms in environmental protection in Nigeria, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area
Methodology is part of the research that shows the ways and approaches of collecting the data (Oliver, 2004). This research is primarily qualitative as it is based on the enforcement of human right norms in environmental protection in Nigeria. The reason for choosing the qualitative analysis strategy is the exploratory and the qualitative nature of study. According to Robson (1993), flexibility is always the main strength of the case study strategy in terms of interpretation and getting access to the specified places. The research is a based on secondary data. We used document analysis/content analysis as main method of data collection. Document analysis/content analysis also called “textual analysis” (Travers, 2001) in the study will include all kinds of academic articles, textual and multi-media products, ranging from television programmes to web sites on the internet
SOURCES OF DATA
In the course of research for this work relevant data and information will be obtained from the main sources. These were primary and secondary source.
Primary data will be obtained with the use of questionnaire. Secondary data will be collected from textbooks. Journals, publications of ministries of environment and justice.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the enforcement of human right norms in environmental protection in Nigeria. It will cover the standard environmental rights, human right norms and it level of implementation in Nigeria.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Environmental protection: is the practice of protecting the natural environment by individuals, organizations and governments. Its objectives are to conserve natural resources and the existing natural environment and, where possible, to repair damage and reverse trends.
Human right: are moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected as natural and legal rights in municipal and international law
Enforcement: the act of compelling observance of or compliance with a law, rule, or obligation.