Greta Thunberg says Canada’s oil and gas production infringes on children’s human rights

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On December 10, Greta Thunberg tweeted, “On human rights day, we call for climate action. The climate crisis is the biggest threat to human rights and human rights need to be at the center of the climate crisis.”

Presently at the United Nations COP25 climate summit in Madrid, Spain, Thunberg also met with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. She has previously commented, in reference to the crisis of climate change, “The world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope.”

Canada, Norway violating children’s human rights

Newsweek also reports, “Greta Thunberg and 15 other young climate activists have accused Canada and Norway of violating children’s human rights by refusing to move away from gas and oil production.”

That article further explains, “Both countries are accused of ‘violating the rights bestowed on every child in the world’ under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child by increasing their oil production despite knowing about the climate emergency.”

This is in line with the statement by five UN human rights treaty bodies this past September that highlighted, “Failure to take measures to prevent foreseeable human rights harm caused by climate change, or to regulate activities contributing to such harm, could constitute a violation of States’ human rights obligations.”

Their statement also noted, “[The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report confirms that climate change poses significant risks to the enjoyment of the human rights protected by the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”

Specifically, “The adverse impacts identified in the report, threaten, among others, the right to life, the right to adequate food, the right to adequate housing, the right to health, the right to water and cultural rights.”

The need to protect human rights defenders to address the climate crisis

Peace Brigades International accompanies human rights defenders who struggle against some of the biggest accelerants of climate breakdown, including fracking, hydroelectric dams, deforestation, palm oil plantations, and mining.

In October 2017, Katharina Rall from Human Rights Watch wrote, “The frequent attacks and threats against environmental rights defenders throughout the world are an example of why governments need to include protecting rights in their climate policies.”

She highlighted, “Unless governments stop the criminalization of defenders, protect those who defend the environment, and respect due process show a larger commitment to human rights, any efforts to protect the climate will easily be blocked.”

On March 20 of this year, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution that says, “Human rights defenders, including environmental human rights defenders, must be ensured a safe and enabling environment to undertake their work free from hindrance and insecurity.”

That resolution “urges States to develop and appropriately resource protection initiatives for human rights defenders.”

At the UN COP25 climate summit in Madrid, Extinction Rebellion and allies held an action earlier this week to commemorate the 164 activists killed in the Global South for trying to defend their lands from corporate extractivism.

Peace Brigades International is now considering how to further highlight the need to protect human rights defenders when the COP26 climate summit takes place in Glasgow, Scotland this coming November 9-19, 2020.

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