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24 Mai 2016

John Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights & the environment

“No time for complacency” – UN rights expert says as the Paris Agreement faces its first key test

Mr. Knox recalled that the Paris Agreement is the first environmental treaty to include a strong commitment to protect human rights in addressing climate change. “The Paris Agreement recognizes that States do not check their human rights obligations at the door when they enter a climate negotiation,” he said. “In the agreement, States committed to safeguard human rights in taking actions to address climate change.”Ahead of the Bonn meeting from 16-26 May, the UN expert has made a number of recommendations on safeguards to protect human rights to the Paris Convention’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice...In a letter to the SBSTA, the Special Rapporteur called for the adoption of specific safeguards, such as prior assessments, provisions for public participation, and effective grievance procedures, that would help to ensure that proposed projects do not run rough-shod over the human rights of indigenous peoples and other communities that are most directly affected by them...The new fund is expected to be the successor to the Clean Development Mechanism, which was highly criticized for contributing to some hydroelectric and other projects that were linked to human rights abuses, including displacement of indigenous and other communities without transparency or adequate consultation...“The urgency of addressing climate change does not justify violating the rights of those who live and work near the projects,” Mr. Knox emphasised. “On the contrary, safeguards are necessary not only to protect human rights, but also to avoid abuses that can derail projects and harm the very people that the projects are supposed to help.”...