High Commissioner for Human Rights: Climate change is a threat to human rights

The 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) opened on Monday, where the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet gave an oral update of the current human rights situation globally. The UNHRC is the United Nations body concerned with the protection of the human rights. The session ends on the 27th of September.

In an appeal to the forum of 47 members, the High Commissioner credited the current climate situation as the greatest threat to human rights and referring to the forest fires said “We are burning up our future – literally.” She stated that “Climate change is a reality that now effects every region of the world,” continuing to say the implications the currently projected level of global heating has on humans is “catastrophic”.

She barely touched upon projections regarding climate change but only mentioned that the WHO expects that there will be an additional 250,000 deaths per year between 2030 and 2050, due to climate change. Her appeal was directed as a call to action, as she said the situation is not one “where any country, any institution, any policymaker can stand on the sidelines,” continuing to state that “the right of all your people and future generations will be impacted.”

Reminding the forum of the chance to mitigate climate change is slowly vanishing, she said there is still time to make a different but requires “sufficient determination” and “acting in partnership” to advance human rights and fundamental freedoms. 

Watch the appeal and the full oral update on the UN News.