Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali on Monday said that judges in Pakistan had played a very vital role in recognizing environmental rights and advancing climate justice.
LAHORE, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 26th Feb, 2018 ) :Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali on Monday said that judges in Pakistan had played a very vital role in recognizing environmental rights and advancing climate justice. Addressing a two-day conference titled "Asia Pacific Judicial Colloquium on Climate Change: Using Constitutions to Advance Environmental Rights and Achieve Climate Justice", at a local hotel, he said that the object of the conference was to build capacity of the judges in Asia for applying environment constitutionalism in order to achieve climate justice and advance human dignity.
He said that the gathering was a continuation of the efforts of judges in Asia to play a leading role in addressing issues of environment and climate change which hampered sustainable development of the region. "Judges acknowledge that today more than any time in history, climate change needs to be addressed and the real change is achieving climate justice", he added. Judges must now consider the impact of climate change, especially on vulnerable groups like women and children, those living in poverty, while interpreting the Constitution and deciding Constitutional matters, he added.
He said that the Constitution did not merely lay down laws that needed to be followed but it embodied aspirations and dreams of people for a decent life where fundamental and human rights were respected. One of these rights was the right to healthy environment for not only today but generation to come, he added. Recounting development of environmental laws in the country, he said that Pakistan had guaranteed environment rights in some form which ranged from explicit substantive rights to a clean and healthy environment, implicit rights to life and dignity, and procedural rights to justice, public participation.
He said that courts in Punjab were increasingly applying these provisions in resolving environmental disputes. He said that the Supreme Court also took several suo motu initiatives on environment and developed green jurisprudence while deciding environmental cases. Referring to various observations of the Supreme Court, he said that one could see the trends in global environmental constitutionalism and climate litigation in Pakistan and the role of courts in creating a link between constitutionalism, climate change and human rights.
He said that judges in Pakistan had played a very vital role in recognising environmental rights and advancing climate justice. He said that citizens and NGOs were also playing their role for bringing cases to the courts. He expressed hope that the gathering would also provide a framework for enhancing capacity of participating judges and legal stakeholder to implement environmental rights for their effective enforcement in the pursuit of achieving climate justice.
He said that Pakistani judiciary and legal community would continue its efforts for becoming leading voice in protecting the environment and addressing climate change and in paving the way to achieve climate justice in an age of sustainable development. Earlier, the Chief Justice welcomed the foreign judges and participants and thanked the organisers and co-sponsors including United Nations Environment Programme, Asian Development Bank, Asian Judges Network on Environment, Raoul Wallenberg Institute, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment, World Commission on Environmental Law, Global Judicial Institute on the Environment and Widener University Delaware Law school (USA).
Federal Shariat Court Chief Justice Sheikh Najam-ul-Hassan, Supreme Court Judge, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, besides LHC judges including Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Ahmad Khan, Justice Muhammad Farrukh Irfan Khan, Justice Ayesha A Malik, Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, Justice Jawwad Hassan were also present on occasion. UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights and Environment John Knox, Former UK Supreme Court judge Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill besides judges from Malaysia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and other Asian countries and experts from 40 different countries attended the conference.