A Study of Structure, Form and Language
Chapter 13: Rules in the form of environmental rights
A constitutional right in relation to life may be a catalyst for the recognition of a right in relation to the environment. Increasingly rights in relation to the environment have been specifically recognised and in some instances directly incorporated within the text of a constitution. This has enabled a range of judicial institutions to review not only the jurisprudential nature of these rights but also how they operate in practice. The processes of legal reasoning begin with the text of the constitution. This in many cases includes a right to life but the constitution goes beyond this to include the rights and obligations specifically directed at the quality of the environment. These provisions are couched in very general language and are of relatively indeterminate meaning. However this has not prevented the evolution of a range of doctrinal approaches to the nature of these rights in relation to the environment and their capacity to be protected. The Constitution of Colombia contains three sets of provisions of current relevance. The first is article 11: The right to life is inviolable. Then article 79: Every person has the right to enjoy a healthy environment. It is the duty of the state to protect the diversity and the integrity of the environment, to conserve areas of special ecological importance and to promote education to achieve these aims. Article 80 states: The state will plan the use and management of natural resources, in order to secure their sustainable development, their conservation, restoration or replacement.
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