Since humans have existed on Earth, the environment has been one of the primary resources contributing to humans' ability to live life adequately. Pollution has not only destroyed natural life, but it has also diminished humans' right to life. The United Nations 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) guarantees "every human being has the inherent right to life," but how can one exercise this right in an environment that is degrading through pollution? This is the basis of which this thesis is surrounded; the issue of environmental pollution hindering humans' right to life. Thus, this thesis aims to show how legal action can be taken under the substantive right to life when environmental pollution occurs and negatively impacts humans and their surroundings. Specifically, this thesis shows how the right to life has been used in courts around the world through three primary approaches – State Constitution approach, Regional Treaty approach, and Blended approach – when environmental pollution has occurred. The different approaches will show different ways a court can come to the conclusion that there has been a violation of the right to life in the occurrence of environmental pollution. Through a comparative-analysis of the different approaches, this thesis presents yet another way to protect not only the environment, but also the rights of humans who have been negatively affected by environmental pollution.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Merriam, Eric


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences


School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs

Degree Program

Political Science



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date