More than 180 civil society and indigenous organisations, and academics, across 50 countries, have signed an open letter calling on world leaders to put human rights at the centre of climate and environmental policy.

This decision was made ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26. It is the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference and is being held in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, from 31 October to 12 November 2021.

The COP26 summit will bring countries together to improve their climate commitments and is also “an important forum for a wide variety of stakeholders from around the world to gather and discuss the climate crisis and solutions.”

On the 26 October, the Forest Peoples Programme wrote an open letter together with human rights and civil society organisations and expressed that they face multiple, intersecting crises that cannot be ignored,

These include “increasing human rights abuses and environmental harms by companies, land grabs, the loss of food and water sovereignty, increasing poverty and inequality, increased attacks and killings of defenders, climate change-induced disasters and migration, the diminishing health of the oceans and critical biodiversity loss.”

Protecting the human rights of indigenous people as well as small-scale fishers, farmers and other workers have always been of vital importance and this a chance for their work and livelihoods to be recognised on a global level.

Therefore, they urge “world leaders to ensure that all policymaking related to the environment – including the climate and biodiversity crises, ownership and use of land, water and resources, ecosystem degradation, corporate accountability and trade, among others – address human rights and the environment in an integrated manner.”

COP26 is currently underway for two weeks. The outcome of the summit will determine whether the human rights of indigenous people and small-scale workers have been prioritised and their livelihoods protected.



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