UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Climate Change Devastating the Globe

By Janet Ekstract

UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, spoke at the opening of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, warning the 47 Member States that “The world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope,” referring to the devastating effects of climate change that the world is currently witnessing.

The High Commissioner highlighted a number of climate change issues that she emphasized that Member States must unite and work together to resolve before it’s too late.

Bachelet’s point is that it’s already too late and as she explained: “Climate change is a reality that now affects every region in the world.” The High Commissioner noted that UN reports reveal that ‘climate emergency’ has been a major factor in global hunger.”

She warned that UN reports show rising temperatures will directly impact the global death rate from 2030-2050 with an estimate of at least 250,000 more deaths annually during that time period from malnutrition, malaria and diarrhea.

Bachelet’s address comes just two weeks before the UN Action Climate Summit in New York and as the High Commissioner emphasized – this is not just a climate threat it’s a threat to human rights.

Bachelet drove home her point when she said: “This is not a situation where any country, any institution, any policymaker can stand on the sidelines. The economies of all nations; the institutional, political, social and cultural fabric of every State, and the rights of all your people – and future generations – will be impacted.”

The High Commissioner instructed that each State should contribute the “strongest possible action to prevent climate change.” She also added that Member States must promote the “resilience and rights” of their citizens when implementing these policies.

The former two-term President of Chile and a lifelong champion of human rights specifically drew attention to indigenous people and minorities in her call for the protection of human climate rights.

The High Commissioner’s words and the Climate Action Summit could not come at a more apropos time because as the world has witnessed, U.S. President Trump pulled out of the Paris Accord also known as the Paris Climate Agreement and Brazilian President Bolsonaro refuses to accept annual financial donations for the Amazon basin or the out-of-control Amazon wild fires that Bolsonaro has shown no concern about.

As international press reported, Trump has labeled climate change a “hoax” while Bolsonaro labeled it a ‘Marxist plot.”

The echo of High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s warning is loud and clear – the dire conditions of climate change have put the world into dire straights with effects that will boomerang for centuries to come. As Bachelet concluded: “We’ve never seen a threat of this scope to human rights.”

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