“Human rights and climate change represent key pieces of work for churches, said World Council of Churches deputy general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri in her opening remarks. “These concerns and their intersections are also at the heart of advocacy of other communities of faith with whom we partner in articulating a faith-rooted, ethical voice at the Human Rights Council, UNFCCC, etc,” concluded Phiri.
The side event shed light on the connection and importance of defending human rights in the context of climate change.
“In a recent visit to Uganda, I saw and heard about the migration of men to the cities, leaving their families behind. Climate change has made it more difficult to grow crops for a living,” said Dr Ian Fry, UN special rapporteur for Climate Change and Human Rights. Fry explained that his task is to bridge human rights and climate change communities. “Some of the key thematic areas I will focus on include loss and damage, finance and corporate accountability,” he said.
“143 million people will become internally-displaced climate migrants by 2050, around 40 million in South Asia and one-third [of that figure] in Bangladesh,” said H.E. Mustafizur Rahman, permanent representative of Bangladesh to the UN in Geneva. “For many developing countries, adaptation capacity is limited. Therefore, we must meet net-zero emissions by 2050 through robust mitigation and treat the issue of climate refugees as an economic and development issue requiring global cooperation.”
During the event, speakers from Islamic Relief Worldwide, ACT Alliance, and churches in Ethiopia and Honduras shared local perspectives on the realities displaced people face due to climate change. The several contributions highlighted the different threats faced by displaced people and the urgency to enhance the protection, particularly for women and unaccompanied children.
“Somalia is facing its 4th, or 5th failed rainy season, displacing 750,000 people; 500,000 in the first quarter of 2022,” said Osmawani Binti Osman from Islamic Relief Worldwide. “There are no gaps between disasters. Displaced women and unaccompanied children are especially at risk.”