Human rights implications of the climate crisis must be tackled during the COP26 conference in Glasgow, the UK's national human rights bodies warned today.
In a joint statement the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, and Equality & Human Rights Commission highlight that climate change "threatens the effective enjoyment of a wide range of human rights including the right to life, water and sanitation, food, health, housing, self-determination, culture, and development".
The three bodies are using the opportunity to remind the UK Government of its human rights obligations to prevent the foreseeable adverse effects of climate change and ensure that those affected by it, particularly young people and those in vulnerable situations, have access to effective remedies and means of adaptation to enjoy lives of human dignity.
The Commissions welcome the recent passing of a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council recognising access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a universal right, and are "hopeful this will be a catalyst for change in addressing issues around climate change that have affected the human rights of many".
They call on the UK Government to show leadership at COP26 by making specific commitments to better protect human rights in the context of climate change.
The Scottish Commission is hosting a side event at COP26 for National Human Rights Institutions, in collaboration with the Global Alliance for NHRIs, and the University of Stirling, from 3-5 November; and the Northern Ireland Commission has produced two animations on youth, climate change and human rights as part of a project with Queen’s University Belfast.