ICJ report documents access to justice obstacles to protect the environment in Turkey

The ICJ published today a baseline report on the state of access to justice to protect the environment and human rights in Turkey.

Turkey has recently ratified the Paris Agreement, arising out of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. However,  as everywhere across the world, environmental degradation and the effects of climate change are on the rise.

Negative environmental effects of mining, construction projects and waste disposal practices pose serious threats to the right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. Furthermore, other human rights of individuals living under the jurisdiction of the Turkish Republic as well as others who suffer from the transboundary damages resulting the activities conducted in Turkey are directly affected from this regression.

Structural problems surrounding the rule of law crisis in Turkey has aggravated the difficulty in access to justice for violations of the right to a healthy environment.

The present report examines access to justice problems concerning the environment at three different levels. Following a summary of international human rights law on access to justice in environmental matters, the report addresses constitutional problems and access to justice issues in general. The issues covered include the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, non-implementation of judgments, high court fees, narrow interpretation of the concept of interest by administrative courts, legal standing issues, and corruption. The report further assesses restrictions on other human rights that affect the legal and political struggle of environmental activists, including problems concerning civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. It considers specific problems concerning the right to a healthy environment: environmental impact assessments, health impact evaluation, public participation issues in projects affecting the environment and ongoing major projects negatively affecting the environment.

Finally, this report provides recommendations on how to enhance access to justice for the environment in Turkey considering the country’s obligations under international and national law.

The report can be downloaded here in English: Turkey-AccesstoJusticeEnvironmentHR-Publications-Reports-Thematic reports-2022-ENG and in Turkish here: Turkey-AccesstoJusticeEnvironmentHR-Publications-Reports-Thematic reports-2022-TUR

Access to justicePublicationsReports