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Jus Gentium and the Earth Charter

Otherness, Justice and Jus Gentium: the legally binding value of Earth Charter for the protection of human rights”, is the title of a presentation by Ricardo Libel Waldman given on July 2nd, 2012 at the 10th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, in the University of Maryland Law School.

Ricardo Libel Waldman is a Brazilian lawyer, who is carrying out research on this topic at the Centro Universitário Ritter do Reis-Laureate International, which is part of Porto Alegre University’s Law School, Brazil. This presentation shows Prof. Waldman’s research outcomes on the topic of Jus gentium.

Jus gentium is a concept of international law, used in Ancient Rome, which is not a legal code but are principles or rules that come from the reasoning of people regarding their interaction with the environment they live in.

Waldman says, “…if the people of the earth agree, as they do, that nature should be better taken care of, there is no need that the Governments accept formally all principles and rules required for doing so…”.

In relation to the Earth Charter, he proposes, “…a Pact such as the Earth Charter, for its content, can be considered jus gentium, a form of law which derives is validity from human reason in dialectical debate, and therefore does not depend on a formal agreement between all those who are specifically affected by it.”

In addition to his research, Prof. Waldman teaches in the Human Rights Masters Program and Design Masters Program.  A project within these Masters programs entails the students presenting the Earth Charter to children and teenagers in public schools.

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