Recognising the interdependence of human rights and environment protection

FIDH shares the conviction that human rights and environmental protection are interdependent. A safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is essential to the fulfilment of the right to life, food, health, water, housing, work, culture and the rights of indigenous people.

Considering the need for strong policy and just action could not be more urgent. From the Sahel, the Caribbean, the Horn of Africa, the Amazone Basin, the river systems of Asia, and the Pacific Ocean, there is growing evidence that climate change will increase the risks of conflict and violence as stated by the last report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Poverty and Human Rights.

We witness the particular threats faced by defenders and indigenous peoples, victims of forced displacement and landgrabbing, conflict and terrorism, migration, corruption and malgovernance, colonialism and neo colonialism, systematic discrimination and other human rights as the most vulnerable to the consequences of environmental degradation.

Recognizing that the climate crisis poses a threat to the rights of nature which is interlinked with a wide range of fundamental rights . On this regard, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned the biodiversity of the planet and ecosystems will suffer heavy impacts due to climate change, as well as an increase in risks to health, livelihood, food security and water supply due to Climate Change (IPCC special assessment report 2018).

Recalling the right of all to be protected from adverse environmental impacts caused by climate change with a particular attention to those who are most vulnerable to natural disasters.

Yet for decades, States have lacked willingness and capacity to effectively protect the environment and regulate harmful business activities. Major gaps remain in the implementation of international human rights instruments.

Corporations and other economic actors have fueled the climate crisis through (1) operations that profit from the climate crisis ; (2) efforts to cover-up the problem and promote misinformation, misleading branding and lobbying ; (3) acts to discredit, intimidate or endanger scientists, human rights defenders and other activists exposing the causes and impacts of business in human rights and the environment ; (4) refusing to halt actions that continue to harm the environment, or take steps to effectively mitigate the actual and potential impacts.

Addressing this crisis requires urgent, vital, and ambitious human rights-centered action.

In doing so FIDH believes the introduction of human rights considerations into environmental policies and accountability of corporate actors contributing to it, is essential to the protection of the populations affected by climate change and to the well-being of future generations.

FIDH therefore commits to working with key stakeholders – individuals and organizations – in a range of actions to defend the rights of affected communities and empower member leagues engaged on this issue, with the aim of strengthening the legal framework and ensuring accountability and redress.

These initiatives will include the range of actions that are within the competence of FIDH, including conducting research and community-based human rights impacts assessments, advocacy, and strategic litigation.

To achieve this objective FIDH, meeting in Taipei (Taiwan) from 21 to 25 October 2019 for its 40th Congress :

Calls upon States to deploy all efforts to reinforce the legal framework for the protection of human rights from the adverse impacts of all business activities, including through the adoption of a UN binding instrument on business and human rights as well as national and regional legislation on mandatory due diligence, ensuring transparent and participative processes ;

Appeals to all corporate actors to respect human rights and the environment throughout their operations, supply chain and in all business relationships ;

Invites all civil society organisations to join forces in order to build stronger strategies for the protection of human rights and the environment.

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