COP26: Talks begin to boost human rights response to climate emergency

COP26: Talks begin to boost human rights response to climate emergency

International human rights organisations will today begin three days of online talks, in parallel to COP26, aimed at boosting efforts to put human rights at the heart of climate policy.

The symposium will bring together around 50 national human rights institutions (NHRIs) from around the globe. Delegates will be welcomed by Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison MSP and will hear contributions from expert speakers including:

  • David Boyd, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and the environment
  • Dr Annalisa Savaresi, University of Stirling
  • Sebastian Duyck, Center for International Environmental Law

The symposium comes as the European Network of NHRIs (ENNHRI) has submitted a third party intervention to the European Court of Human Rights on climate change and human rights, in the landmark climate case of Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and others v Switzerland. ENNHRI’s submission underlines states’ responsibility to combat climate change effectively in order to protect the right to life.   

Dr Jacqueline Kinghan, member of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, will address the symposium. She said: “The commission is delighted to co-host this international event which is taking place online, in parallel to COP26 in Glasgow.

“A human rights-based approach is essential to dealing with the challenge of climate change. Climate change has profound impacts on people and their rights including access to water and sanitation, housing and homelessness, and loss of livelihoods.

“COP26 is an important opportunity to drive the global response needed to tackle the human rights issues associated with climate change. National Human Rights Institutions can play a key role in securing accountability for human rights within climate policy, and we are pleased to be able to support this event for our sister organisations from around the world. 

“Here at home, we have also recently welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to incorporating the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment in a new Human Rights Bill for Scotland, and will continue to work with them to make this right real and meaningful.”

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