Author: Ip Tsz Yan Natalie, BBA (Law) IV; HKU

Date: 7/8/10

The connection between the right to health and air pollution has been made clear by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. In their consideration of the reports submitted by State parties, such as Slovakia (in 2000), South Africa (in 2000), Jamaica (in 2003), Philippines (in 2008), the Committee made a note of concerns in respect of air pollution in the context of children’s health, usually recommending measures be taken, increased or intensified to combat the threat to children’s health caused by environmental pollution.

Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of a Child requires appropriate pre-natal care for mothers, which may be relevant in light of the damage air pollution does to mothers and babies.

The requirements under Article 24 in respect of preventative healthcare and to combat disease taking into consideration environmental pollution may also be relevant. [1]

Article 27 of the CRC recognizes the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for their development, which may be relevant to the impairment air pollution causes in lung development. [1]

The requirement in Article 2 that the rights under the CRC should be respected regardless of property status may be relevant to the finding that those in lower socio-economic groups are most affected by the health effects of air pollution [1]

The Hong Kong Government is failing to meet its obligations under Articles 24 and 27 of the CRC for States to provide an environment that does not prejudice health, prevent healthy development or obstruct the combat of disease. Hong Kong is also failing in its obligations to protect the right to health of its children, which constitutes a breach of Article 2 and arguably Article 6 of the CRC.

See Also

  1. Article 24, United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hong Kong’s submission to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Air Pollution Regulation and the Right to Health Civic Exchange, May 2009 – last accessed 11/8/10