Section Header

Environmental Justice and Human Rights: Investigating the Tensions, Exploring the Possibilities

Poster Conference | Poster Book Launch

Blog| Facebook | Twitter

Info & Videos: Canadian Mining Sector

International Conference November 8 – 10 2012 in DMS12102

Location: University of Ottawa, 12102 Desmarais Hall, 55 Laurier East

“Environmental Justice and Human Rights: Investigating the Tensions, Exploring the Possibilities”

Over the past two decades, discourse driven by the socio-political movement of environmental justice has increasingly incorporated the language of the law to translate the injustices related to the disproportionate effects of pollution on the health and well-being of marginalized people into the language of the right to life, equality, integrity, privacy, and the dignity and security of the person. Human rights are now also part of the toolbox of many actors in the environmental justice movement, who intend to draw upon their symbolic force, or, from a more pragmatic point of view, to benefit from any recourse that human rights remedies might have to offer in order to punish the perpetrators of environmental pollution. It is important to note, however, that many researchers and practitioners question this (often assumed) convergence between the discourse of human rights, on the one hand, and environmental justice, on the other. Among the concerns expressed by these researchers and activists are particularly the fear that the institutionalization of the environmental justice movement by the judicial apparatus and the discourse of rights will results in an increased marginalization of groups most affected by environmental degradation, including indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, people living in poverty and women due, among others things, to barriers to access to information and access to the justice system.

In order to discuss and, ultimately, to better identify the convergences and tensions between the discourse of human rights and environmental justice, Canadian and international academics (teachers, researchers and students) coming from various disciplines within the social sciences and law, lawyers, and activists will discuss the following questions: What are the possibilities and limitations of human rights as a tool to promote environmental justice? What are the gains or losses for human rights that are a result from the use of environmental justice tools, and vice versa? What convergences/divergences exist between the values, fundamental principles and objectives of human rights and those of the environmental justice movement? Can indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, women and people living in poverty mobilize human rights in a positive way to combat environmental problems that affect their health and their physical, psychological and material well-being? How does the human rights system increase the capacity of marginalized groups to defend and protect themselves in decision-making processes that could jeopardize their interests in relation to the environment?

Program

Thursday, November 8, 2012, 7:00pm to 9:00pm, DMS12102

Opening night and Book launch (Wine and cheese, Free & open to the public)

Keynote Speaker: Professor David Boyd, Simon Fraser University

Opening comments: Sophie Thériault, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Commentators: Will Amos (Ecojustice) et Lynda Collins (Professor, Ottawa University)

1- The Right to a Healthy Environment: Revitalizing Canada’s Constitution

2- The Environmental Rights Revolution: A Global Study of Constitutions, Human Rights, and the Environment


Friday, November 9, 2012

8:00-9:00        Registration & Breakfast (included)

9:00-9:10        Opening comments – Lucie Lamarche, HRREC director, University of Ottawa

9:10-10:10 Environmental Justice: a Multifaceted Concept

Commentator: Heather McLeod-Kilmurray, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

…………………….- Rebecca Tsotsie, Professor, Arizona State University, (United States)

…………………….- Carmen Gonzalez, Professor, Seattle University School of Law, (United States)

…………………….- Laura Westra, Professor, Windsor University

……………………- Aliènor Bertrand, Chercheur CNRS, France

10:10-10:30    Discussion

10:30-10:45    Break

10:45-12:15 Human Rights and the Struggle Against Environmental Degradation

Commentator: Sylvie Paquerot, Professor, Political Studies, University of Ottawa

…………………….- Nathalie Chalifour, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

…………………….- SĂ©bastien Jodoin, PhD candidate in environment studies, Yale School of Forestry & ……………………….Environmental Studies, (United States)

…………………….- Robert Kibugi, Faculty of Law, University of Nairobi, (Kenya)

12:15-12:30    Discussion

12:30-14:00    Lunch

14:00-15:15 Strategies and New Conceptual Questions for Environmental Justice : …………………….What Roles for Human Rights?

Commentator: Jose Lopez, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Ottawa

…………………….- Rebecca Schein, Professor, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, Carleton University

…………………….- Julian Agyeman, Professor, Department of Urban, Environmental Policy and Planning ……………………….(UEP), Tufts University, (United States)

…………………….- Sabrina Alzais, Ph.D candidate in Law, University of Ottawa and UniversitĂ© de ..……………………..Nanterre (France)

15:15-15:30     Break

15:30-17:00 Strategies and New Conceptual Questions for Environmental Justice : …………………….What Role for Human Rights?

Commentator: Nathan Young, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, ………………………University of Ottawa

…………………….- Estair Van Wagner, Ph.D. candidate, Osgoode Hall Law School

…………………….- Marie Soveroski, Managing Dir., Earthrights International, ………………………………Washington DC, (United States)

Saturday November 10th

8:00-9:00         Breakfast included
9:00-9:05         Opening comments: Lucie Lamarche, Director, CREDP

9:05-10:45 Environmental Justice in Action: Case Studies

Commentator: Thomas Burelli, PhD student, Law Faculty, Ottawa University

…………………….- Margot Venton, Lawyer, Ecojustice
…………………………(« Chemical Valley » in Sarnia, Ontario)

…………………….- Dayna Scott, Faculty of environmental studies, York University
…………………………(Pipelines, Canada)

…………………….- Karen Morrow, Centre for Environmental and Energy Law and Policy,
…………………………(United Kingdom)

…………………….- Ly Hamidou, Ph.D Candidate in Geography, Paris 8, (France)
…………………………(Bronx and Dakar)

…………………….- Louise Gonsalvez, Ph.D candidate, Windsor University
……………………….(Niger Delta)

10:45-11:00   Break

11:00-12:50 Indigenous people and Extractive Justice

Info & Videos: Canadian Mining Sector

Commentator: Penelope Simons, Associate Professor, Law Faculty, Ottawa University

…………………….- Deborah Delgado-Pugley, Ph.D candidate, UniversitĂ© Catholique de Louvain, Belgium

…………………….- Randall Abate, Professor, Florida A&M University College of Law and ……………………...Elizabeth Kronk,.Kansas University School of Law (United States)

…………………….- Ravi de Costa, Professor, Environmental Studies, York University

…………………….- Jennifer Huang, Pace Law School, New York, (United States)

…………………….- Sara Seck, Professor, Faculty of Law, Western University

12:50-13:00    Closing remarks: Lucie Lamarche, Director, CREDP