Public Ombudswoman submits report on right to healthy life to the Parliament

Zagreb - Public Ombudswoman Lora Vidović has submitted to the Croatian Parliament a special report on the right to a healthy life, in which she shows the connection between human rights and environmental protection.

As her office said on Friday, the report, titled "The Right to a Healthy Life and Climate Changes in the Republic of Croatia 2013-2020", analyses problems related to air, water and soil protection, light and noise pollution, non-ionising radiation of base stations, sustainable waste management and climate change.

The topic is especially important given the insufficiently developed environmental awareness of institutions, as well as the general public, of the importance of protecting the environment, nature, climate and human health, which causes an insufficient level of realisation of the right to a healthy life, the office said in a press release.

The right to a healthy life is also important in the context of climate change, the consequences of which Croatia has already felt, during the floods in eastern Croatia in 2014 and the 2017 fire season, Ombudswoman Lora Vidović said.

The question whether the COVID-19 pandemic is unexpected or a logical sequence of events is also justified, she said.

She noted that the United Nations had in recent years pointed to an increased risk of diseases which are believed to be directly related to the destruction of habitats of many species and the disruption of biodiversity.

She recalled that the UN underscored that the pandemic was the best indicator of the interconnectedness of care for the environment and human health, as well as of other fundamental rights and freedoms. In addition, the European Environment Agency points to a possible link between air pollution and poverty and higher COVID-19 mortality rates, Vidović said.

The report of the public ombudswoman is based on complaints from citizens and associations, actions on one's own initiative, data from competent bodies, field work and participation in legislative activities.

Implementing its recommendations would strengthen the protection of the right to a healthy life, and thus of human rights in general, by encouraging environmentally conscious policy-making and the work of institutions, which would also be in line with the European Green Deal, the basis for the European Union's recovery from the pandemic, Vidović said.

Author: Hina