Human Rights-Based Approach to Climate Change Through Existing Human Rights Regimes
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Climate change is considered to be a critical global challenge and recent events have demonstrated the world’s growing vulnerability to climate change. The impacts of climate change range from affecting agriculture to further endangering food security, to rising sea-levels and the accelerated erosion of coastal zones, increasing intensity of natural disasters, species extinction and the spread of vector-borne diseases. However over the past two decades climate change has only been viewed as a scientific projection. The international community has largely failed to translate the important and hard-won scientific consensus into an equally compelling vision of how the consequences of global warming are being felt by people and communities around the world. This paper will argue that the impacts of climate change are now threatening basic human rights such as the right to life, to food, to shelter, to water and to health and that although economical or scientific perspectives of climate change remain necessary, it is also essential that we focus on the people who are most immediately affected by climate change and most in need of support. Human rights dimension of climate change is now drawing attention of international communities. On March 25, 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted resolution 10/4, unequivocally recognizing that “climate change-related impacts have a range of implications, both direct and indirect, for the effective enjoyment of human rights including, inter alia, the right to life, the right to adequate food, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the right to adequate housing….” Recognising the effect of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights, this paper will try to find out answers of some key questions; (a) how is the impact of climate change a human rights issue? ; (b) how is the concept of ‘human rights-based approach to climate change’ developing in human rights arena? ; (c) should existing human right law be expanded to encompass climate change impacts? ; (d) what human rights are threatened by the impacts of climate change? ; (e) how will human rights courts respond to the violation of human rights caused by the impact of climate change? ; (f) and what are the advantages of human rights-based approach to climate?This paper will argue that international human rights regimes is potentially well placed to address and highlight some of these human dimensions of climate change from the human rights perspective. It will also assert that the application of human rights principles and norms will bring a range of benefits to international and national efforts to respond to the impacts of climate change on vulnerable people.