The UN special rapporteur on the protection of human rights in the context of climate change concluded a ten-day visit to the regions most affected by recent rains and floods in Bangladeshasserting that the country should not bear the burden of climate change alone and calling for the creation of an international fund to help the country recover.
Ian Fry recalled that the main sending countries have denied for too long their responsibility for the suffering they are causing. “And that must end,” he said, adding that after seeing the devastation firsthand, it is abundantly clear to him that the burden of climate change must not fall on Bangladesh alone.
The countries that emit most of the greenhouse gases have a clear obligation under international lawto provide funds to help highly vulnerable countries like Bangladesh to recover from the impacts of climate change”, he stressed.
In this regard, he urged the international community to establish a fund to compensate countries for loss and damage caused by extreme weather events and to finance its recovery.
Women, among the most affected groups
Among the population groups most affected by the disaster in Bangladesh, the expert highlighted women, who must walking very long distances to fetch clean water, which puts them at risk of sexual harassment and prevents them from caring for their children and working in agriculture.
Fry also explained, for example, that women from the northeast of the country they lost their livelihoods: livestock, crops and seeds, noting that their communities will take at least two years to recover and return to normal activity.
other group particularly hard hit is that of the indigenous peopleswhose traditional livelihoods are being destroyed by logging on their land, and who are finding it increasingly difficult to get clean water, food and medicine.
The rapporteur noted that this logging violates the Bengali government’s program to reduce emissions and the degradation of the forests and denounced by denying these communities official recognition of their indigenous origin, their situation is ignored.
© FAO/Fahad Kaizer
Regarding the massive population displacements generated by climate change, the expert assured that they are “disturbing.”
He explained that millions of people who suffer from the hardships caused by climate change migrate to cities in search of livelihood opportunities and they inevitably end up in slums where their basic rights are not denied.
Fry underlined the seriousness of the situation of children in urban slums. “suffer high rates of malnutrition, school dropout, child marriagechild labor and abuse,” he listed.
Persecution of activists
On the other hand, the special rapporteur referred to climate change activists, who are persecuted by the authorities for protesting against new coal-fired power plants.
He indicated that the government uses the Digital Protection Law to silence these activists and defended the right of all people to express their opinions without being classified as terrorists.
The special rapporteur will report on his visit to Bangladesh to Human Rights Council in June 2023 and before that, this year the UN General Assembly will submit another report on the protection of fundamental guarantees in the context of climate change mitigation.
* The special rapporteurs are part of the ‘Special Procedures’ of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name for the independent investigative and monitoring mechanisms established by the Council to deal with specific situations in countries or thematic issues around the world. the world. The experts of the Special Procedures work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organization and act in their individual capacity.