Environmental Justice, Human Rights and Public Health

Since the early 1990s, the international community has increasingly acknowledged the inextricable link between human rights, the environment, and public health. Several environmental problems, including pollution and climate change, are recognized to affect a host of rights, including the right to health. These issues are often included under the rubric of “environmental justice” which is a growing movement that highlights issues such as pollution prevention, access to safe drinking water, and safe housing that are at the heart of treaties and public law regimes focused on human rights. At its core, environmental justice is about the intersection of human rights, the environment, and how people can equitably access the resources they need to ensure the highest attainable level of health possible. Advocacy in these areas in one country informs advocacy efforts in other countries and regions.

This course will examine the intersection of environmental justice, human rights and public health from international and comparative legal perspectives. The LTP seminar will be taught synchronously between the University of Maryland Carey School of Law in Baltimore and the Chancellor College Faculty of Law in Zomba, Malawi. Through classroom instruction and experiential learning opportunities, students in Malawi and the United States will further their understanding of the linkages between human rights, the environment and public health while also having the opportunity to engage in advocacy and litigation projects in the context of a focused case study on the effects of climate change in the Lake Chilwa region.

The aim of the LTP is to train future lawyers who can use their legal training to seek justice for members of vulnerable communities across the globe. An important corollary aim is to strengthen the clinical law programs at Chancellor College, especially the Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic, so they can serve as learning and advocacy hubs for future environmental justice, human rights and public health work. The seminar will include didactic training in legal and advocacy concepts; role play and simulation exercises; a joint research and advocacy project developed in close collaboration with students and faculty from Chancellor College, including new public interest environmental litigation and regulation strategies in Malawi; and a culminating capstone experiential project in Malawi.

C: Students will be required to have taken, or be currently taking, at least one of the following courses:

International Law, International Human Rights, Global Environmental Law, Health and International Human Rights, or Healthcare Law and Policy.

Key to Codes in Course Descriptions
P: Prerequisite
C: Prerequisite or Concurrent Requirement
R: Recommended Prior or Concurrent Course