Human rights must be addressed at COP26

Human rights must be addressed at COP26

The UK’s national human rights institutions are warning that the human rights implications of the climate crisis must be tackled during COP26 in Glasgow.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission highlighted that climate change threatens the effective enjoyment of a wide range of human rights including the right to life, water and sanitation, food, health, housing, self-determination, culture, and development.

As national human rights institutions, the commissions have a mandate to promote and raise public awareness of the relationship between human rights and the climate crisis.

The three bodies are using this opportunity to remind the UK government of its human rights obligations to prevent the foreseeable adverse effects of climate change and ensure that those affected by it, particularly young people and those in vulnerable situations, have access to effective remedies and means of adaptation to enjoy lives of human dignity.

The commissions welcomed the recent passing of a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council recognising access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a universal right. They are hopeful this will be a catalyst for change in addressing issues around climate change that have affected the human rights of many.

They join together in calling on the UK government to show leadership at COP26 by making specific commitments to better protect human rights in the context of climate change.

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