Climate change, human rights “intertwined” – UN official

GENEVA, Mar 3 (KUNA) — There is an increasing attention paid to the “intertwined” relationship between climate change and human rights in recent years, UN Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment John H. Knox, said on Thursday.
He explains to the UN Human rights Council that “States have procedural and substantive obligations relating to climate change, as well as duties to protect the rights of the most vulnerable.” In his conclusions he said “bringing human rights to bear on climate change has three principal benefits. First, advocacy grounded in human rights can spur stronger action.
From the Male’ Declaration to the Paris Agreement, Governments and civil society organizations have successfully argued that strong climate action is necessary to safeguard human rights. These efforts have borne fruit, but they must continue and intensify.
“Second, human rights norms clarify how States should respond to climate change. As the Paris Agreement recognizes, whenever States take action to address climate change, they should respect, protect and consider their respective obligations on human rights. Complying with human rights obligations not only helps to protect the rights of everyone affected by climate change. As the Human Rights Council has affirmed, it also promotes policy coherence, legitimacy and sustainable outcomes”, he added.
In the same Context he explained that “states have procedural obligations to assess and provide information about the effects of climate change, to ensure that climate decisions are made with the informed participation of the public and to provide for effective remedies for climate-related violations of human rights.
They must protect the rights of freedom of expression and association in relation to all climate actions, even when the rights are being exercised in opposition to projects supported by the authorities.” Based on the duty of international cooperation, States should fully implement all of the commitments they have made in relation to the Paris Agreement and strengthen their commitments in the future, in order to ensure that global temperatures do not rise to levels that would impair a vast range of human rights.
Each State must also adopt a legal and institutional framework that assists those within its jurisdiction to adapt to the unavoidable effects of climate change. In all of these actions, States must take care to protect the rights of the most vulnerable, according to the special rapporteur.
Third, human rights bodies can inform and improve climate policy by providing forums for issues concerning climate change and human rights that might otherwise be overlooked. The Special Rapporteur encourages the Human Rights Council and other international and national human rights institutions to continue to bring a human rights perspective to the global challenge of climate change. (end) ta.nfm