8 Geo. Int'l Envtl. L. Rev. 67 (1995-1996)
Humanitarian Law, Protection of the Environment, and Human Rights

handle is hein.journals/gintenlr8 and id is 75 raw text is: COMMENTARIES
Humanitarian Law, Protection of the Environment,
and Human Rights
NEIL A.F. Popovi*
War is not healthy for children and other living things.
Vietnam-era slogan of Another Mother for Peace.
I. INTRODUCTION
Environmental degradation is endemic to armed conflict - whether
direct, such as the physical destruction of a forest or the fouling of a water
source, or indirect, such as an attack on a factory which results in the release
of environmentally dangerous chemicals. In either case, the environmental
destruction at issue has profound human consequences and corresponding
significance both as a humanitarian law issue and a human rights issue.
International humanitarian law and international human rights both seek
to protect human beings from harmful activities, but each addresses the
problem from a different perspective and with a different set of procedures.
International humanitarian law regulates the conduct of armed conflict by
imposing constraints at the state-to-state level. The International Commit-
tee of the Red Cross (ICRC) undertakes the bulk of protective activities
conducted under humanitarian law.
International human rights principles impose obligations and constraints
on states and imbue people with specific enforceable rights in armed
conflict and in general. Human rights procedures operate in national,
regional and global forums, with states, international organizations, and
individuals as subjects and objects of the relevant procedures.
Although humanitarian law and human rights constitute separate bodies
of law, each with its own procedural mechanisms and institutional struc-
tures, the two are not unrelated. Protection of the environment in wartime
* Attorney, Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, International Program, San Francisco, California;
A.B., J.D., University of California, Berkeley; M.A., Tufts University. The author would like to
acknowledge the contributing research and ideas of predecessors and colleagues at the Sierra Club
Legal Defense Fund. Special thanks to Lauri J. Adams and Adriana Fabra Aguilar. Thanks also to
Major Richard M. Whitaker, Judge Advocate, United States Army.

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