Aspects regarding the relathionship between human righs... 277
Although environmental degradation does not imply a violation of Article 8 of
the Convention, indirectly, environmental factors can directly and gravely affect
private and family life.
Article 8 of the Convention protects the right to „respect” various interests and
implies an extended right to environmental issues. The State has a positive duty to
adopt rights protection measures in this article.
In the case of Kyrtatos v. Greece, the applicants denounce an illegal urban
planning act, which destroyed a protected swamp under the Greek Constitution.
The Court found that there had been no violation of Article 8 on the ground that,
on the assumption that the environment was severely affected by the urban
development of the area, the applicants did not provide convincing arguments
showing that the damage to birds and other protected species living in the swamp
was liable to directly affect their rights under Article 8 § 1 of the Convention. It would
have been otherwise if, for example, the alleged damage to the environment were
to destroy the forest in the immediate vicinity of the applicants 'houses, a situation
which could have directly affected the applicants' well-being. When considering
the second aspect of the complaint, the Court found that the discomfort that arose
from the applicants' neighborhood as a result of the urban development of the area
(noises, night lights, etc.) did not reach a sufficient degree of seriousness for be
taken into account for the purposes of Article 8.
In Ttar v. Romania, claimants, father and son, complain that the technological
process used by a company in the gold mining activity is life-threatening because a
significant part of the company's activity took place near their homes. In January
2000 an environmental accident occurred at this company. A UN report revealed
that a dam was broken, releasing a significant amount of sodium cyanide and
contaminated water into the environment. The complainants also argued that the
authorities did not take any action, although one of the applicants, has lodged
numerous complaints that their lives were threatened (especially the health of their
asthmatic son). In this case, the Court found that there had been a violation of
Article 8 of the Convention on the ground that the Romanian authorities had failed
in their duty to assess to a satisfactory extent the risks that the mining company
might have involved and to take the necessary steps to protect the rights of those
involved, to respect their private lives and their homes and, in general, the right to
enjoy a healthy and protected environment. The Court emphasized that pollution
could interfere with a person's private and family life, affecting his well-being and
that the State was required to ensure the protection of its citizens by regulating the
authorization, establishment, operation, safety and monitoring of industrial
activities, which were dangerous to the environment and human health.
Article 13 of the Convention speaks of the relationship of cooperation between
the Convention and the national legal system. Article 13 requires states to protect
human rights and guarantees people an effective remedy for human rights violations.