Human Rights and Climate Justice

This week members of the climate change community gather in Geneva, the home of the Human Rights Council, for the latest round of climate negotiations.

As the Geneva negotiations will inform the text of the 2015 climate agreements, it is important to take a moment and remember why it is crucial to integrate human rights and gender equality into the agreement text.

Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, said

“I believe that climate change is the biggest human rights issue of the 21st century.”

Perhaps more than any other problem humanity has faced, climate change confronts us with the reality of our interdependence. No country alone can protect their citizens from the impacts of dangerous climate change.

Therefore solving the problem requires countries and citizens to act in solidarity, motivated by enlightened and collective self-interest for a better future. The impacts of climate change can undermine the enjoyment of human rights. So actions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are important as the more they limit warming, the more likely we are to have an environment in which people will be able to realise their rights. At the same time, the human rights community can emphasise the need for urgent action on climate change to protect human rights.

A climate justice approach to reaching zero carbon offers the global society a unique opportunity to combat climate change and promote equity, while developing a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are realised; a world everyone is entitled to.

This Position Paper on Human Rights and Climate Justice describes the progress so far on human rights and climate change in the international level and sets out important steps for climate justice in 2015.

Taking a climate justice approach for 2015 and beyond can ensure that rights are protected and that the actions taken to solve the climate crisis will leave no one behind – especially not those people who are most vulnerable to but least responsible for climate change.


A Climate Justice Dialogue co-hosted by OHCHR and MRFCJ

Briefing Paper for “A Climate Justice Dialogue”

MRFCJ Position Paper on Human Rights and Climate Justice

UN Independent Experts: Open Letter on Human Rights and Climate Change

Statement of the United Nations Special Procedures Mandate Holders on the occasion of the Human Rights Day 2014

Geneva to play host to crucial negotiations on the road to COP 21 in Paris

Human Rights Matter for Climate Action