The World Council of Churches is part of the forum, a group of faith-based organizations that gather to reaffirm the responsibility of each faith and spiritual tradition to care for the environment.
“The climate crisis constitutes one of humanity’s greatest challenges, contributing both directly and indirectly to human rights violations around the world,” the statement reads. “A key role of the United Nations and the Human Rights Council in the twenty-first century must be to stand with the vulnerable segments of society.”
The statement calls for the Human Rights Council to establish a new Special Procedures mandate on Human Rights and Climate Change; the Geneva Interfaith Forum has been calling for the establishment of a mandate for a new Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change since 2010.
“In particular, a new Special Procedures mandate would ensure a long-term focus on climate change issues at the Human Rights Council and bring a human rights dimension into climate change policies,” the statement reads. “It would contribute to enhancing complementarity between the climate change legal framework and the international human rights regime.”
Independent human rights monitoring bodies can play a valuable and more important role, the statement notes. “Moreover, the creation of a new mandate would strongly convey the message that human rights must be integral to climate change discussions,” the text reads. “A healthy environment is essential for human health, and for human societies to flourish.”
HRC 46 runs from 22 February to 23 March 2021.