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Calls to focus on human rights in govt. & company actions

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Article
7 December 2015

Human Rights in Climate Pact Under Fire

Author: Human Rights Watch

A handful of countries were blocking human rights references in important parts of the climate change agreement…Norway, Saudi Arabia, and the United States have been criticized by some countries and nongovernmental organizations for seeking to eliminate key references to rights in the document. “The draft text…sets out a commitment by countries to respect human rights…” said Joe Amon, health and human rights director at Human Rights Watch. “However, some countries are seeking to remove these references…from Article 2, the purpose section of the agreement.”…[G]roups including trade unions and coalitions representing indigenous peoples, women, youth, and people in small island nations have been particularly vocal in calling for strong rights language in the treaty…Nongovernmental groups have pointed out that…the inclusion of strong rights language in the purpose of the agreement reinforces the understanding that addressing climate change is not only about protecting the planet, but also the people living on it…

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Article
6 December 2015

Paris Climate Talks: The Question Rich Nations Don’t Want To Answer

Author: Thom Mitchell, New Matilda (Australia)

…The industrialisation of now-rich countries has bequeathed saline, flooded and increasingly useless soils to Maina Talia…A climate activist…Talia told a…side event at the United Nations talks that “the loss of culture, heritage and land, to us, is equal to death”…[J]ust under 11,000 Tuvaluans are on life-support because of…fossil fuel industries that power developed economies…[G]overnments are pushing hard for a section in the Paris climate accord which commits countries…to help developing nations cope with climate impacts that are already occurring…G77…put forward a proposal…Yesterday the proposal made it into a significant redraft of the climate deal being negotiated in Paris…One aspiration has been rubbed out, though. Language around compensation and liability…has been watered down…“There’s clearly a strong moral case for the fossil fuel industry to pay for the cost of the damage their products are doing rather than the poor,” [Julie-Anne Richards of the Climate Justice Programme] says…[Also refers to ExxonMobil.]

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Article
6 December 2015

Defending land and community: women on the frontlines of climate justice

Author: Nathalie Margi, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, on Open Democracy

…Women comprise the majority of the world’s poor and experience systemic marginalization, discrimination, and violence. This makes them particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and environmental degradation. When they mobilize for environmental rights, they face myriad obstacles, both because of their activism and because they are women…One of the key ways they are responding to the challenge of climate change is by mobilizing for the land rights of their communities, which not only helps achieve sustainable development but has also been found to reduce CO2 emissions. The following stories highlight some of the struggles and solutions proposed by grassroots women environmental activists… [H]undreds of women environmental activists have been jailed, have been defamed as threats to “national security,” or have suffered discrimination and violence... Their stories must inform the policies we push our leaders to adopt, so that…we can shift from merely discussing to truly practicing land justice...

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Article
6 December 2015

United Nations rights expert stresses role of human rights in climate change negotiations

Author: Elias Hubbard, Telegraph Times (USA)

The 2015 climate conference aims…for ambitious, just and balanced Paris agreement on climate change, applicable to all after 2020, to keep global warming below 2°C…Norway, the U.S., and some European countries are said to be blocking the inclusion of human rights provisions in the binding part of the agreement. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has been lobbying for its complete exclusion…The current draft released on Friday had references to human rights in the preamble. However, the paragraph which under "Purpose" which is more operative suddenly became bracketed compared to the draft released yesterday - meaning it is still up for discussion and can be removed anytime…[T]he…text reaffirmed the solemn commitment of all States to fulfill their obligations to promote universal respect for and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights…

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Article
5 December 2015

Draft climate agreement adopted by 195 countries - human rights maintained in operative text, for now

Author: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

"Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action: Draft Paris Agreement"

Article 2

1. The purpose of this Agreement is [to enhance the implementation of the Convention] [and] [to achieve the objective of the Convention as stated in its Article 2]. In order to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, Parties agree to take urgent action and enhance cooperation and support so as:

(a) To hold the increase in the global average temperature [below 1.5 °C] [or] [well below 2 °C] above preindustrial levels by ensuring deep reductions in global greenhouse gas [net] emissions;

(b) To Increase their ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change [and to effectively respond to the impacts of the implementation of response measures and to loss and damage];

(c) To pursue a transformation towards sustainable development that fosters climate resilient and low greenhouse gas emission societies and economies, and that does not threaten food production and distribution.

2. [This Agreement shall be implemented on the basis of equity and science, and in accordance with the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances, and on the basis of respect for human rights and the promotion of gender equality [and the right of peoples under occupation].]

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Article
4 December 2015

"Human rights are crucial" to climate action, says Human Rights Watch - highlights need for rights text in operative section of climate agreement

Author: Human Rights Watch (USA)

"UN: Human Rights Crucial in Addressing Climate Change", 3 December 2015 

Paris Agreement Should Ensure Transparency, Accountability and Participation...

Many country delegates have emphasized that effectively addressing climate change requires the protection of human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples, women and girls, people with disabilities, and migrants and refugees. The current draft also emphasizes ensuring gender equality, food security, intergenerational equity, the integrity of natural ecosystems, and a just transition of the workforce. “Climate change disproportionately affects people who are already vulnerable, especially in countries with limited resources and fragile ecosystems,” said Joe Amon, health and human rights director at Human Rights Watch.

 

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Article
4 December 2015

Climate change linked to human rights, Inuit leader says

Author: Nunatsiaq Online

Dressed in traditional garments, Indigneous representatives at the COP 21 climate change talks in Paris — who included Arctic delegation head Okalik Eeegeesiak from the Inuit Circumpolar Council — met Dec. 2 with François Hollande…But despite Hollande’s words of encouragement to the group…Indigenous peoples may face disappointment as diplomats and official delegates to the climate change talks fine-tune their new global pact on climate change. That’s because they may cut out a reference in the agreement’s text on the link between climate change, human rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples…Some countries are not supporting the inclusion of text…Eegeesiak…said…“Climate change is not just an environmental issue, it is a human rights issue and the melting of the Arctic is impacting all aspects of Inuit life,” Eegeesiak said...Eegeesiak urged Canada, Norway, the United States, Denmark, Greenland, Russia, Sweden and Finland to support their Indigenous peoples…

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Article
4 December 2015

Put your #eyesonparis

Author: Oxfam

Showing we have our #eyesonParis for #climatechange is now more important than ever. The UN Climate Summit in Paris is still going ahead - but the huge marches planned on the streets of the city are not. We need global solidarity more than ever right now. So as we stand…with all those impacted by attacks in Paris and everywhere in the world, this is a crucial opportunity for us to show that, whatever happens, we are united in our refusal to live with poverty and violence - and our belief in peaceful change….Follow these three simple steps:

  1. Take a picture of your eyes.
  2. Post it on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the hashtag #eyesonParis.
  3. You'll automatically join thousands of other supporters, campaigners, and celebrities in a powerful reminder to world leaders of just how many of us are willing them to do the right thing.

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Article
3 December 2015

Civil society warns against hydropower projects as solutions to climate change, referring to adverse human rights impacts

Author: Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente, Amazon Watch, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, Carbon Market Watch, France Liberte, Intl. Rivers, Jeunes Volontaires pour l'Environnement International, Oxfam Intl., REDLAR, Rios Vivos, Rivers Without Boundaries, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, Urgewald

Large hydropower projects are often propagated as a “clean and green” source of electricity…Yet large hydropower projects are a false solution to climate change. They should be kept out from…climate initiatives for the following reasons: 1…hydropower reservoirs emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases…2…Hydropower projects…impair the role of rivers to act as global carbon sinks by disrupting the transport of silt and nutrients. 3. Hydropower dams make water and energy systems more vulnerable to climate change…4…dams cause severe and often irreversible damage to critical ecosystems…5…hydropower projects have serious impacts on local communities and often violate the rights of indigenous peoples…6…hydropower projects are not always an effective tool to expand energy access for poor people…7…hydropower projects would be a costly …8…hydropower is no longer an innovative technology…9. Wind and solar power have become readily available…10. Hydropower projects…absorb significant support from other climate initiatives.

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Article
3 December 2015

Climate action must include a just transition for workers, says Unilever CEO & Intl. Trade Union Confederation Secretary-General

Author: Sharan Burrow, Intl. Trade Union Confederation & Paul Polman, Unilever, on EurActiv

"A changing climate for jobs", 2 Dec 2015

With the start of the COP21 climate change summit in Paris, we have the opportunity to create a new model where we can both tackle climate change and create jobs. There are some who still believe that the two are in conflict. Our experience, however, suggests that inaction on climate change is the real job killer. A structural transition to a green economy will create – not lose – jobs and is a necessity for our environment. If we act now, we can make sure that the transition is a just one, respecting the rights of workers and creating opportunities for communities moving away from fossil-fuel intensive industries...It’s important to respect the workers in the fossil fuel industry who have brought us the prosperity of today, and help them to secure professional opportunities in a low-carbon economy...What does a just transition look like? It should encourage all companies to plan ahead for decarbonisation, ensure that workers have the opportunities and skills required to take on new jobs, enable employees to plan for the future, and invest in community renewal...Workers play an important role in determining our future but often have little choice - it is in all our interests to make sure that they have a seat at the table and a say in their future...

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