human rights violations, climate change, Inuit, Arctic, vulnerability, responsibility, future generations, United Nations, native groups, indigenous people
The climate is changing. There is little debate left with regard to this statement. However, the world is still grappling with what exactly this change means. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, recently stated that he is “convinced that climate change, and what we do about it, will define us, our era, and ultimately the global legacy we leave for future generations.” 3 Global Climate Change (“GCC”) has the potential to affect the world’s most developed groups, however, the people whose lives will likely be changed most by GCC are those who have “contribute[d] the least to greenhouse emissions.” 4
One of the groups that will be most affected by GCC are the Inuit of the Arctic region. There is a large degree of certainty that the Arctic’s climate is changing and as a result the Inuit people are being forced to change their way of life, their cultural identity, and in some cases, they are being forced to leave their ancestral lands. While the Inuit people must pay the “highest price … [and] are directly threatened by these rapid climatic changes” 5 because of their traditional way of life, they contributed little to GCC. This unfortunate paradigm, that those most affected by GCC are not responsible for its creation, is a theme that runs tragically true for many native people that lead a traditional and near carbon-free life. This Note will explore the effects of GCC on the Inuit people …
(2010) 37 Rutgers Law Record 182.
Human Rights Violations and Climate Change: The Last Days of the Inuit People?
Development, Environment, Human Rights, Sustainable Development
Environmental protection and human rights are interrelated, interconnected, and mutually responsive as both of them intended to the well-being of humanity. Safe and healthy environment is the pre-condition for the enjoyment of fundamental human rights. The linkage between these two approaches has recognised in various international and regional instruments, resolutions of the UN subsidiary organization, the outcome documents of international conferences, and the judicial pronouncement of tribunals, which consider the human rights framework as an effective means to achieving the ends of environment protection. Despite the evident relationship between these two, human rights violations and environmental degradation have been treated by most organizations, governments and even academia as unrelated issues. Environmentalists have tended to focus primarily on natural resource preservation without addressing human impacts of environmental abuse. A state of natural imbalance has been developed by many human-centric activities such as the industrialization, urbanization and the large scale exploitation of natural resources damaging the environment led to many serious repercussions on a large scale including Global Warming, drought, flood, environmental Refugees and migration, health issue, Ozone Depletion. Such issues involves not only environmental factors but other factors as well i.e. political, social, economic factors which requires the integration of both approaches to tackle the issues more holistically. The result of looking these two approaches separately is that the victims of environmental degradation are unprotected by the laws and mechanisms established to address human rights abuses. Linking human rights with the environment creates a rights-based approach to environmental protection that places the people harmed by environmental degradation at its center. Articulating the fundamental rights of peoples with respect to the environment creates the opportunity to secure those rights through human rights bodies in an international forum as well as the national tribunals. In this regard, the contribution made by the Indian judiciary for the protection of environment and to provide remedies to the victim of environmental harm by applying the right based approach to environmental protection is a clear example of how the framework of human rights can contribute in the protection of environment and the very existence of the humanity. The concept of sustainable development is very well served to interlink these approaches as it comprising three interrelated dimensions: environmental, economic and social. The present study is intended to describe the interlink between environmental protection and human rights approaches by analyzing instruments, initiatives taken by environmental and human rights bodies and the judicial pronouncement of various tribunals. Further it also evaluates how far the mechanism of human rights is helpful to provide remedies to the victim of environmental degradation and to provide better protection to the global environment
P. Pathak, Human Rights Approach to Environmental Protection (2014) Vol. 07, No. 01, OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development, pp. 17-24
Human Rights Approach to Environmental Protection
climigration, migration, climate change, displacement, climate refugees, southern hemisphere, global warming, ecology, humanitarian crisis, indigenous communities, Arctic, disaster relief
The specter of millions of people fleeing their homes because of climate change has sparked an international debate about creating human rights protections for climate refugees. Though scholars and journalists have focused on the southern hemisphere, this crisis is occurring with unprecedented rapidity in the Arctic. In Alaska, temperatures have increased at twice the rate of the global average. Arctic sea ice is decreasing and permafrost is thawing. These ecological phenomena are creating a humanitarian crisis for the 200 indigenous communities that have inhabited the Arctic for millennia. Dozens of these communities are threatened because of climate-accelerated erosion, flooding, and extreme weather events. The traditional responses of hazard prevention and disaster relief are no longer protecting communities despite millions of dollars spent on erosion control and flood relief. Community relocation is the only feasible solution to permanently protect the inhabitants of these communities. This article describes the steps that federal, state, and tribal governments have taken to relocate Newtok, one of at least twelve indigenous communities in Alaska that need to relocate due to climate change. The policy and practical challenges to relocate the community are enormous and clearly demonstrate that new governance institutions need to be designed to specifically respond to climate-induced relocation. This Article ultimately proposes the creation of Guiding Principles of Climigration outlining key human rights principles that can guide an adaptive governance framework. This framework, in turn, will allow government agencies to transition their humanitarian response from protection in place to community relocation.
(2011) New York University Review of Law and Social Change 35 (2) 357
Climate-Induced Community Relocations: Creating an Adaptive Governance Framework Based in Human Rights Doctrine