NEW YORK (October 21, 2022) – Human-induced climate change is the greatest and most widespread threat to the natural environment and societies the world has ever experienced, and the poorest countries are paying the greatest price, said a UN expert.
“All over the world, human rights are being negatively affected and violated as a result of climate change. This includes the right to life, health, food, development, self-determination, water and sanitation, work, adequate housing and freedom from violence, sexual exploitation, trafficking and slavery,” said Ian Fry, UN Special Rapporteur on Promotion and Protection. of human rights in the context of climate change, in a report at today’s General Assembly.
“There is an enormous injustice being perpetrated by developed economies against the poorest and least able to cope. The failure of developed economies and large corporations to take responsibility for drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions has led to demands for “climate reparations” for the losses incurred. G20 members, for example, account for 78% of emissions over the past decade.”
The Special Rapporteur’s report focuses on the topics of mitigation action, loss and damage, access and inclusion, and the protection of climate rights defenders.
“The overall effect of inadequate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is creating a human rights catastrophe, and the costs of these climate change disasters are enormous,” Fry said.
Those most affected and suffering the greatest losses are the least able to participate in current decision-making and more must be done to ensure they have a say in their future, including children and young people, women, people with disabilities, indigenous peoples and minorities.
Fry also expressed deep concern about climate activists. “As groups and communities grow increasingly frustrated with the lack of action on climate change, they have turned to protests and public interventions to bear witness to the climate emergency. Unfortunately, we see many climate rights defenders persecuted by governments and security organizations. Some defenders were even killed.”
The expert emphasized that indigenous peoples, in particular, have been the target of serious attacks and human rights violations.
Fry presented several recommendations to the General Assembly, including a proposal for a High-Level Forum on Mitigation Commitment to be held in 2023, the establishment of an advisory group of financial experts to define the modalities and rules for the operation of a loss financing mechanism and damages, and a climate change redress and grievance mechanism to enable vulnerable communities to seek redress for damages.
Mr. Ian Fry He is the First Special Rapporteur for the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change. He was appointed by the Human Rights Council at its 49th session in March 2022 and began his term on 1 May 2022. Mr. Fry is an international expert on environmental law and policy. His focus was primarily on mitigation policies and the losses and damages associated with the Paris Agreement, the Kyoto Protocol and related instruments. He has worked for the Government of Tuvalu for over 21 years and was appointed as their Ambassador for Climate Change and Environment 2015-2019.
Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as Special procedures of the Human Rights Council. The Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN human rights system, is the general name for the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms, which address either country-specific situations or thematic issues from all parts of the world. Special procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
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