Journal of Human Rights and the Environment

Security of the person, peace of mind: a precautionary approach to environmental uncertainty

Lynda M Collins *

Keywords: Rio, precautionary principle, environmental risk, security of the person, Aamjiwnaang, psychological integrity, human rights


This article assesses the evolution of precautionary environmental human rights in the twenty years since Rio, with a focus on security of the person. In particular, the author argues that where there is evidence of a significant environmental threat to human health, coupled with scientific uncertainty regarding the existence, mechanism, or scope of the risk involved, the security of the person of exposed individuals is violated. Taking a precautionary approach to security of the person, and recognizing the integral role of psychology in human wellbeing, the author argues that the requirement to live daily with uncertainty regarding the safety of such fundamentals as air, water and soil violates the psychological integrity of affected communities, and amounts to an infringement of security of the person as protected in both national constitutions and international human rights instruments.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information