Activist countries

Countries step up action for global climate justice ahead of COP27, but Australia conspicuously absent

Twelve countries, including Germany and New Zealand, who stepped up to support the campaign for an International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion on the human rights impacts of climate change on the eve of COP27, puts them on the right side of history ahead of a momentous United Nations General Assembly vote in the coming months, say Pacific activists and a civil society alliance.

© Stephanie Keith / Greenpeace

First conceived in a classroom at the University of the South Pacific in 2019, the campaign now led by the Vanuatu government is seeking an advisory opinion from the ICJ, the world’s highest court, which would investigate how climate change affects people’s human rights and would create legal clarity on how to address it.

Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Uganda, Samoa, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Federated States of Micronesia, Costa Rica and Lichtenstein supported the Vanuatu government’s bid and will continue to publicly support and defend it as the situation evolves. submitted to the UNGA for a vote in late 2022-early 2023 before it can be referred to the ICJ.

While Australia has endorsed the campaign in principle, pressure is now mounting on the Albanian government to join these countries in stepping up and championing the bid.

Vishal Prasad, campaigner with Pacific Island students fighting climate changesaid:

“This campaign started in a small classroom at the University of the South Pacific in Vanuatu, a country on the frontlines of the climate crisis where our human rights are under threat.

“This experience is not limited to the Pacific, with hundreds of millions of people around the world whose human rights are affected by climate change. Today’s announcement that these twelve countries are standing side by side to champion the bid for an ICJ advisory opinion is a testament not only to the global impact of the campaign, but also to our increasingly unified response. to a shared experience. Together, we can set a global precedent for linking human rights and climate change, and protecting the rights of current and future generations.

Sepesa Rasili, campaign manager at Greenpeace Australia Pacificsaid:

“With climate change causing a human rights crisis, we need world leaders to stand with those hardest hit by the climate crisis, ensure their voices are heard and act to protect their human rights by voting yes for the resolution of an ICJ advisory opinion to the UN General Assembly.

“It is incredibly disappointing that Australia has not stepped up on the world stage and joined its peers in championing this Pacific-led campaign for climate justice at the United Nations General Assembly.

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