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FI urged the Human Rights Council to take concrete actions to protect the human rights of victims of Climate Change

The protection of the human rights of victims of climate change has to be the center of the UN Human Rights Council’s attention. This was the main message of Franciscans International (FI) during the Council’s parallel event on 31st May 2013. The event was organised in conjunction with the Council’s negotiation on the resolution on Human Rights and Climate Change. Together with other NGOs, FI has been taking an active role in promoting the human rights approach to climate change. FI has also called for the establishment of UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change.


Panel discussion at the UN on Human Rights and Climate Change

FI was represented by Mr. Budi Tjahjono, its advocacy officer. According to him, the human rights law imposes on states the obligation to “respect and ensure” the rights guaranteed in the human rights treaties. Therefore, states have to take the necessary steps to give effect to the rights recognized, which include, among others, the rights to life, health and security, food, water, a means of subsistence, and culture. Other panellists were Mr. Yves Lador, an environmental lawyer of Earthjustice and Dr. Curtis Doebbler, a human rights and environmental lawyer working for International Lawyer.com.

Mr. Lador regretted the lack of substantial discussion of the Council on climate change. As result, there is a lack of international legal definition on the violation of human rights caused by climate change, which has caused frustration among the victims. Some lawyers now have taken litigation initiatives on cases of human rights violations related to climate change at national and regional level despite the lack of internationally agreed legal definition.

In the same line, Dr. Doebbler reminded the Council that the cost of not taking any action will economically cost much more money than taking urgent and concrete actions today. If no action is taken, by the year 2100, the enjoyment of human rights of more than 100 millions Sub-Saharan Africans will be directly affected by the adverse impact of climate change.  He also urged the Council to move forward a better protection of the rights of the victims of climate change.

FI The event was jointly organised by International Student Movement for the United Nations (ISMUN), Franciscans International, the World Council of Churches, the International Lawyer.com and some other international NGOs. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Jan Lönn, the Secretary General of ISMUN.