A group of UN experts have urged states to mainstream human rights in their measures to address the climate crisis, drawing attention to the increased risk of human trafficking and exploitation as a result of inaction.
The group of experts, including the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery and the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, noted that human rights obligations have not taken priority in climate discussions even though the impacts of the climate emergency are preventing people’s full enjoyment of their rights.
Climate crisis is happening NOW
The climate crisis is here, and people are feeling the consequences now. Climate induced migration and displacement are putting populations on the frontlines of the climate crisis at increased risk of forced marriage, forced labor and exploitation. We need world leaders to act now by implementing solutions to the climate emergency that put human rights and measures to address modern slavery at their center.
We welcome the statement by UN experts that acknowledges the urgency required from states and draws attention to the increased risk of trafficking:
Climate change is exacerbating the risk of other human rights violations, including violence against women and girls, trafficking in persons, especially women and children, excessive use of force in the context of policing climate rallies and protests, racism and discrimination.
“Ambitious actions taken immediately”
The group of experts made clear recommendations for states to act upon immediately, including ensuring there are mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence laws, and “expand opportunities for safe migration.”
Marginalised communities including migrants and indigenous peoples are at particular risk of having their human rights undermined, prompting the UN experts to urge states to address systemic racism.
As we rapidly reimagine and build a low carbon economy, it cannot, and need not, be built on the back of forced labor and modern slavery.
The Freedom United community is urging world leaders and the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to ensure a truly just transition and support responses to the climate emergency that advance the human rights agenda and prioritize building resilience to modern slavery.