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Making the case for environmental justice in Europe

Making the case for environmental justice in Europe HEAL and the Center for Environmental Policy and Law (CEPL), a HEAL member, launched the report entitled “Making the Case for Environmental Justice in Central and Eastern Europe” accompanied by a brochure on "Environmental justice: Listening to Women and Children".

The report provides sound support for the assertion that poor and ethnically marginalised people in Central and Eastern Europe, especially women and children, are more exposed to environmental hazards than majority populations. They are also more likely to lack access to water, sewerage and other environmental benefits. This situation is further exacerbated by inadequate access to health care. Case studies describe the death of a two year-old from lead poisoning, high rates of birth abnormalities, and an ominously quick succession of child deaths from cancer attributed to the environmental conditions in which they live.

But the report is not without hope. It says that investing in the poorest and minority groups provides huge opportunities for improving child health in Europe. This would mean clean-ups of contaminated areas; greater support for local groups; and stronger engagement with the women in marginalized communities because women take most of the responsibility for family health. Policies and laws that simultaneously improve the environment and combat discrimination can significantly improve children’s health.

For more information on the brochure click here. For a paper copy of the report or brochure please contact the HEAL secretariat at

Useful links/resources:

UNDP: “At Risk: Roma and the Displaced in Southeast Europe” United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Bratislava. Website:

WHO:“25 Questions and Answers on Health and Human Rights”, “Health and freedom from discrimination”, "The Right to Health" Cartoon - World Health Organization, Health and Human Rights Publication Series


Children’s right to water (from Convention on the Rights of the Child)

Youth water project

Landmines project in Bosnia and Herzegovina


HEAL’s Press release

Summary case studies by country

Last updated on 15 June 2011

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
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Press: Diana Smith

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