Climate Change and Human Rights

Manila Bulletin, May 21, 2008 | Go to article overview
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Climate Change and Human Rights


Most discussions about climate change had focused on the economic effects that go with global warming. Very few resources had actually been written, lengthily discussing how global warming relates with the fulfilment of human rights, most especially in poor and underdeveloped countries. The human face of the issue is in fact the most important aspect that needs immediate attention. How the world's poor will meet the challenges of climate change and how they will cope with the detrimental effects of global warming should be foremost in any program addressing the glitch.

In a resolution passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 28, 2008, the body "recognized issues connected to climate change as having a human rights framework." In its first consideration of the issue, the 47-member forum endorsed a resolution stressing that global warming threatens the livelihood and welfare of many of the world's most vulnerable people -- the poor.

The proposal came from the Maldives, Comoros, Tuvalu, Micronesia, and other countries which called for "a detailed analytical study of the relationship between climate change and human rights." The resolution also "reaffirms the norms and standards stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and recognizes climate change as a global problem requiring a global solution. It also recognizes that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) remains the preeminent global framework to deal with climate change issues and reaffirm the Principles of the UNFCCC."

Maldives' Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid was quoted as saying that climate change "violates all human rights -- from the basic to the fundamental.

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