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Joint briefing paper: Strengthening the International Law Commission’s draft principles on environmental protection in situations of occupation October 2018

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Introduction

Our organisations welcome the efforts of the Commission and its Special Rapporteur to address environmental protection in situations of occupation as part of its ongoing study into the Protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts (PERAC). The PERAC study should be viewed in the context of the growing international interest in the environmental impact of armed conflicts, and its consequences for communities, ecosystems and for sustainable development.

Just as States and international organisations are updating their policy and practice to better integrate environmental considerations, so the currently inadequate and outdated legal framework must also be updated to better reflect the nature of contemporary armed conflicts, the requirements of human rights and environmental norms, as well as our increased understanding of the direct and derived consequences of warfare and insecurity on the environment. In this regard, we urge all States to support an outcome to the ILC’s PERAC study that leads to the progressive development of the legal framework.

This briefing seeks to identify areas where the Commission’s revised draft principles on occupation could be further strengthened, or where further clarification of terms is required in the commentaries. As it is imperative that the draft principles fully reflect the experiences of those living under occupation, and the environmental conduct of occupying powers, our suggestions are informed by the monitoring work that we undertake. The following themes are issues that we believe that States should address in their statements during the Sixth Committee debate on the work of the ILC.

 

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