UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change, Ian Fry, has said throughout the world, human rights are being negatively impacted and violated as a consequence of climate change.
This includes the right to life, health, food, development, self-determination, water and sanitation, work, adequate housing and freedom from violence, sexual exploitation, trafficking and slavery.
In a report to the General Assembly on Friday, the UN expert said there is an "enormous injustice" being manifested by developed economies against the poorest and least able to cope.
"Inaction by developed economies and major corporations to take responsibility for drastically reducing their greenhouse gas emissions has led to demands for 'climate reparations' for losses incurred. The G20 members for instance, account for 78 percent of emissions over the last decade."
Human-induced climate change is the largest, most pervasive threat to the natural environment and societies the world has ever experienced, and the poorest countries are paying the heaviest price, the UN expert said.
The Special Rapporteur's report focuses on the topics of mitigation action, loss and damage, access and inclusion, and the protection of climate rights defenders, according to a message received from New York.
"The overall effect of inadequate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is creating a human rights catastrophe, and the costs of these climate change related disasters are enormous," Fry said.
Those most affected and suffering the greatest losses are the least able to participate in current decision-making and more must be done to ensure they have a say in their future, including children and youth, women, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and minorities.
Fry also raised deep concern about climate rights defenders. "As groups and communities become increasingly frustrated with the lack of action on climate change, they have turned to protests and public interventions to bear witnesses to the climate emergency. Sadly, we are seeing many climate rights defenders persecuted by governments and security organisations. Some defenders have even been killed."
The expert emphasised that indigenous peoples, in particular, have been the target of serious attacks and human rights abuses.
Fry presented several recommendations to the General Assembly, including a proposed High-Level Mitigation Commitment Forum to be held in 2023, the establishment of a consultative group of finance experts to define the modalities and rules for the operation of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility, and a climate change redress and grievance mechanism to allow vulnerable communities to seek recourse for damages incurred.