UN Secretary General Guterres

Human Rights Day 2019: climate emergency a threat to human rights – UNOHRC

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As the world marks 2019 Human Rights Day, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, has described climate emergency as presenting the most profound planet-wide threat to human rights.

UN Secretary General Guterres
UN Secretary General Guterres

“This has been a year of tremendous activism – notably by young people. It is particularly fitting that this year we mark Human Rights Day during the crucial UN conference in Madrid to uphold climate justice. We owe a debt of gratitude to all those millions of children, teenagers and young adults who have been standing up and speaking out more and more loudly about the crisis facing our planet,” said Bachelet in a statement on the occasion of the 2019 Human Rights Day.

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This year`s event under the theme: “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights” coincides with the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25) holding December 2 – 13 in Madrid, Spain. It aims to celebrate the potential of youth as constructive agents of change in the promotion and protection of human rights around the world.

“…Among the many human rights challenges that have been metastasizing during the first two decades of the 21st century, the global climate emergency presents perhaps the most profound planet-wide threat to human rights that we have seen since World War II. From the right to life, to health, to food, water and shelter, to our rights to be free of discrimination, to development and to self-determination, its impacts are already making themselves felt,” Bachelet said.

She noted that although young people were pointing out the fact that it was their future and that of those yet unborn which was at stake. However, young people couldn’t be left alone to tackle the climate emergency, or indeed the many other human rights crises that were currently causing simultaneous turbulence in so many countries of the world. “All of us must stand together, in solidarity, and act with principle and urgency.”

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Since 1948, December 10 has been globally observed as Human Rights Day; dedicated to commemorating the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – the landmark document proclaiming the universal values and inalienable rights of every human being on earth today – by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

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