Statement on Appointment of John Knox as UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and Environment

For Immediate Release
6 July 2012

Geneva–The Center for International Environmental Law welcomes the appointment Professor John Knox as the first United Nations Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment. The United Nations Human Rights Council established the Independent Expert mandate in a landmark resolution on Human Rights and the Environment in April, and appointed Professor Knox as the mandate holder at the close of its 20th Session in Geneva today. Professor Knox is a leading figure in the field, whose long experience and broad expertise makes him an excellent choice for this critical role. According to Marcos Orellana, Director of CIEL’s Human Rights and Environment program, “The newly appointed Independent Expert will play a key role in building consensus both for the global recognition of the right to a healthy environment and for the development of strong substantive content of that right.”

Professor Knox has been a Counsellor to CIEL on Human Rights and Environment for many years. He will discontinue this role in order to exercise his mandate in total independence. “We are excited to continue working with John in this new capacity and to support him in the successful fulfillment of this vital mandate,” said David Azoulay, Managing Attorney for CIEL’s Geneva office. “More importantly, we look forward to a growing recognition of the universal human right to a healthy environment.”

Media Contacts

Marcos A. Orellana–Email:; Mobile: +56 9 731 409 32
David Azoulay–Email:; Mobile: +41 78 75 78 756

About CIEL

Founded in 1989, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL),, uses the power of law to protect the environment, promote human rights and ensure a just and sustainable society. With offices in Washington, DC and Geneva, CIEL’s staff of international attorneys and experts work in the areas of human rights and the environment, climate change, law and communities, chemicals, trade and the environment, international environmental governance, biodiversity and international financial institutions by providing legal counsel and advocacy, policy research and capacity building.