Svitlana Kravchenko literally wrote the book on human rights and the environment. The widely lauded UO law professor died of a heart attack in February of this year at the age of 62, but she will be both honored and remembered this week as two UO law journals and the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide join to present “New Directions for Human Rights and the Environment: A Symposium Inspired by Svitlana Kravchenko,” to be held free and open to the public Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28-29, at the Knight Law Center, 1515 Agate St. in Eugene.
Kravchenko was outspoken about her belief that climate change needs to be viewed through a human rights lens and was one of the first people to write scholarly articles showing ways to do that, say conference organizers Michele Peterson and John Bonine, who was Kravchenko’s husband.
The topic is timely as national Supreme Courts across the world are increasingly bringing human rights perspectives into environmental cases and the U.S. would do well to follow suit, organizers say. In the Philippines, for example, it was decided that the right to a safe and healthy environment is so fundamental that it would exist even if the Philippines Constitution did not declare it — which it does. Similarly, the Supreme Court of India has recognized a “right to water” as being implicit in its Constitution.
The event will feature guest speakers from Brazil, Israel, Tanzania, Denmark and more, who conference organizers say are some of “the most advanced scholars in the world on human rights and the environment.” Topics will range from the impacts of hazardous waste on human rights to the relocation of communities affected by climate change and much more. Conference registration, information and schedule can be found at www.law.uoregon.edu/cal