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Human Rights as a Basis for Climate Initiatives

By: Teguh Iman Affandi
Volker Türk, Commissioner of the UN Human Rights Commission, circulated an open letter addressed to all participants of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change or COP27 for short. Türk called on world leaders to put Human Rights (HAM) as a cornerstone in preventing climate change.

Volker Türk

COP27 is an annual conference organized by the United Nations. This conference has been held for the twenty-seventh time. Every year, this meeting gathers world leaders to accelerate strategic efforts to achieve the targets agreed upon in the Paris Agreement in 2015. This year, the conference will be held in Egypt, from 7 to 8 November 2022.

In the letter, Türk argues that the injustices brought about by climate change are devastating. Climate change is related to the disasters that humanity is currently experiencing. He gave examples of African countries suffering from climate change, there is a rapid rate of heat, drought, food security, and extreme weather, even though they have little contribution to climate change. “Climate change is no longer an abstract threat,” wrote Türk.

For Türk, the Paris Agreement provides a clear foundation for climate action to build on human rights. The agreement calls on all countries to respect, promote and recall their human rights obligations when discussing climate action. “This is not only a legal obligation, but it is also a good policy,” Türk wrote in his letter.

On that basis, Türk suggested five recommendations for all COP27 participants. The suggestions are to Enhance climate ambition to protect human rights, Guarantee meaningful and effective participation, Address the human rights harms caused by climate change, Mobilize resources for rights-based climate action, and Ensure the centrality of human rights in climate decision-making.

Volker Türk has been the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights since October 17, 2022. He has dedicated himself to advancing Universal Human Rights, particularly for refugees and stateless persons. Before this position, Türk worked in UN executive positions on policy. He coordinates global policy work. Enhance climate ambition to protect human rights.

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