UN says access to a 'clean, healthy' environment is a human right

Despite criticism from some international locations, together with the United States and United Kingdom, forward of the UNHCR session, the brand new decision — proposed by Costa Rica, the Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia and Switzerland — handed with important assist of 43 votes, based on a press launch. Russia, India, China and Japan abstained.

The vote — which comes weeks earlier than the crucial COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland — additionally created a Special Rapporteur function to handle the human rights affect of local weather change. Special rapporteurs are impartial human rights specialists with “mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective,” based on the intergovernmental group.

Human rights chief Michelle Bachelet mentioned in a press release that “recognizing the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is about protecting people and planet — the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat.”

Bachelet added that she felt “gratified” by the best way by which the choice “clearly recognizes environmental degradation and climate change as interconnected human rights crises.”

She continued: “Bold action is now required to ensure this resolution on the right to a healthy environment serves as a springboard to push for transformative economic, social and environmental policies that will protect people and nature.”

The vote “acknowledges the damage inflicted by climate change and environmental destruction on millions of people across the world,” the press launch added. “It also underlines that the most vulnerable segments of the population are more acutely impacted.”

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Yolande Wright, Global Director of Child Poverty, Climate and Urban at Save the Children, hailed the “landmark” decision in a press release, noting it might have “huge implications for children’s rights to a safe and sustainable future.”

“Both resolutions adopted today by the UN Human Rights Council show that finally, the people in charge are listening to what children are saying,” Wright added. “Children we work with are increasingly telling us that they want to see more action from leaders to limit this crisis.”

Inger Andersen, govt director of the United Nations Environment Programme, additionally welcomed the decision, calling it “a breakthrough moment for environmental justice.”

“The decision, taken today in Geneva, is a shield for individuals and communities against a plethora of risks to their health and livelihoods. The recognition of the right to a healthy environment is a historic landmark in our ongoing work for social and environmental justice,” Andersen mentioned in a press release.

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“It is a message to one billion children at extremely high risk of the impacts of a changed climate: a healthy environment is your right. No one can take away nature, clean air and water, or a stable climate from you.”

This just isn’t the primary time the UN has been pushed to broaden its establishments mandates to deal with local weather change. At a UN Security Council assembly on September 24, Ireland put ahead a proposal so as to add the menace posed by local weather change to the Security Council’s routine agenda.

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