It is imperative that the international community and all sectors of civil society mobilize to tackle the hurdles that obstruct adequate and equitable international action on climate change and human rights, we urge NGOs, Civil Society movements and government officials to move ahead in the establishment of a SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR  ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE.

Building on the calls being made by civil society organizations in 2010 and 2011, the undersigned organizations urge the Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution for the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change.  The mandate should, among others, take stocks of impacts of climate change, mitigation, adaptation on human rights, provide inputs to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process and be a focal point for monitoring the impacts of climate change on the realization of rights.

We encourage Human Rights Council members to table such a resolution to be adopted as soon as possible ideally by consensus.


Early this year, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) organized a Seminar on Human Rights and Climate Change following the September 2011 United Nations Human Rights Council resolution (Res 18/22) which affirmed that “human rights obligations, standards, and principles have the potential to inform and strengthen international and national policy making in the area of climate change, promoting policy coherence, legitimacy, and sustainable outcomes”.  This was the third resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council, following, the March 2008 (7/23) and March 2009 (10/4) resolutions.  As Resolution 7/23 expressed already “climate change poses an immediate and far reaching threat to people and communities around the world and has implications for the full enjoyment of human rights” while “the effect of climate change will be felt most acutely by those segments of the population who are already in a vulnerable situation”.

Furthermore, an analytical study on the relationship between human rights and climate change was conducted (contained in A/HRC/10/6) and the 2010 edition of the HRC Social Forum focused on climate change and human rights.

During the 19th Session in March 2012, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Human Rights and Environment (A/HRC/19/L.8) which appointed  an independent expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

Requested actions and rationale

Taking note of the recent developments at the Human Rights Council the undersigned organizations strongly believe that more needs to be done. The effects of Climate Change on the full enjoyment of Human Rights must be addressed without delay.

The June 2012 session of the Human Rights Council and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD Rio+20) are taking place almost at the same time. While we are calling for a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change in the context of the Human Rights Council we also urge that the relationship between Climate Change and Human Rights is reflected and becomes evident in the official outcome document of the UNCSD Rio + 20.

Such actions would be the most effective to address this urgent matter.

Over the last years it has become evident the dramatic effects that Climate Change has on Human Rights.  Some of the consequences that populations are facing in various regions of the world are forced displacement, migration, loss of livelihoods and cultures. These threats affect in particular vulnerable peoples that have a strong and direct link to nature such as people living on small islands or indigenous peoples. Our planet and the lives of millions of peoples are at stake.

Sign this petition preferably with your name and the name of your organization
Contact the government officials in your country and ask them to take action on this matter in the context of the Human Rights Council.

Contact persons:

The Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights

Guillermo Kerber, World Council of Churches:

Beatriz Schulthess: Indigenous Peoples Ancestral Spiritual Council:

Budi Tjahjono: Franciscans International:

Valeriane Bernard: Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University: