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Global Climate Destruction is the Worst Human Rights Violation PDF Print
Written by Movement for a People’s Protocol on Climate Change   
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 18:02

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Sixty years ago, the international community proclaimed that "the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world" as the United Nations General Assembly signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Declaration loudly rejected the "disregard and contempt for human rights [that] have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind."

Today, the lofty aspirations articulated in the UDHR remain as elusive as ever for the vast majority of the world's population. More than a billion have limited access to fresh water, about 800 million people are chronically undernourished, 30,000 die each day from preventable diseases including 2 million children who die each year from diarrhea. This is made worse by the impacts of climate change as agrarian communities suffer more droughts or excessive rains; coastal communities are devastated by rising sea levels and tidal surges; indigenous peoples are deprived of their access to natural resources in their traditional domains; and poor people everywhere are confronted with worsening food and water insecurity, diseases and deaths.

As we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the UDHR, the international community is also demanding a new covenant from the world's leaders now convened in the United National Climate Change Conference that will stop the biggest human rights violation of our time: the destruction of the global climate caused by the unmitigated emissions of greenhouse gasses particularly by advanced industrialized countries to feed the continued accumulation of wealth by the global elites while the vast majority of the world are thereby deprived of their rights to life, security, food, shelter, health, and culture.

Unfortunately the United Nations System, including the UNFCCC process, is increasingly being taken over by corporate interests which are pushing for false solutions or worse, converting the "climate challenge" into business ventures for more private wealth accumulation. Market-based instruments such as carbon trading, emissions trading and offsets have become the preferred means of tackling global warming even as though these have clearly failed to reduce emissions since the Kyoto Protocol came into effect. Worse still, these false solutions are actually causing more damage as they detract from fundamental changes in production and consumption patterns, especially in the North, and are displacing and dispossessing indigenous peoples and other poor communities in the South.

At the same time, governments of the wealthiest countries including the US, EU, Japan, Canada, Australia and others are obligating developing countries to reduce emissions without recognizing their historical obligation to take the lead in reductions and compensate the developing South for the damage they have caused for so long.

The corporate encroachment in the UNFCCC process, the lack of a firm commitment on the part of governments to radically reduce emissions, the lack of commitment of developed countries to provide compensation for developing countries to finance mitigation and adaptation in the South, and the lack of meaningful participation of the most vulnerable communities in the official negotiations compels us in civil society to advance our movements for climate justice and the right to development and create our own spaces where we can forge a genuine alternative to the dominant unsustainable development paradigm of neoliberal globalization that has benefitted only the few at the expense of the vast majority and is compromising even the right to development of future generations.

Uphold human rights! Uphold the People's Protocol on Climate Change!

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