The UN General Assembly proclaimed December 10th as Human Rights Day in 1950…and over 60 years later, we continue to celebrate the day, but with so much more work left to do.
Today as part of the COP20 Human Rights day I attended an event hosted by several faith-based organizations, which brought together a panel of experts to talk about the devastating impacts that climate change can have on those most vulnerable without adequate resources to respond, including the indigenous peoples of the world. John Knox, UN Independent Expert on Environment and Human Rights, Reverend Henrik Grape, Church of Sweden, Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples came together to discuss the increasing impacts of anthropogenic climate change on human rights and on principles of equity and freedom. Specifically the group discussed solutions based on incorporating the human rights element into ongoing climate negotiations as part of COP20 and beyond.
As explained by Mr. Knox, in what started as an open letter signed by 28 human rights experts, efforts are today being taken to underscore the need for urgency in bringing forward discrete language in the development of a new climate agreement – and to reach a concrete solution.
Reverend Grape shared inspirational words of hope. Hope, he said is the first step to walk the path of transformation. The daughters of hope are anger and courage. Anger over the inequalities, and courage to start the transformation needed for a more just and equitable world.