Stop burning our rights! What governments and corporations must do to protect humanity from the climate crisis

The climate emergency is a human rights crisis of unprecedented proportions. Climate change threatens the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of present and future generations and, ultimately, the future of humanity. When climate change-related impacts hit a country or a community, the knock-on effects can seriously undermine the enjoyment of the right to life lived in dignity, endanger a range of freedoms, and in many cases even put at risk the cultural survival of entire peoples. At the current level of 1.1°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, are already witnessing devastating impacts, such as heatwaves and unprecedented wildfires, back-to-back tropical storms of high intensity and severe drought. These events, together with the slow-onset impacts of climate change such as sea-level rise, severely affect the enjoyment of the human rights of millions of people, including the rights to life, water, food, housing, health, sanitation, adequate standard of living, work, development, healthy environment, culture, self-determination as well as the right to be free from discrimination and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, among others. This publication describes how people are denied enjoyment of these rights due to climate change, and what the future threats are. For example, about 6,300 people died in the aftermath of super-typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013 and almost 4 million were affected by the 2019 cyclones in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, being killed, displaced and losing access to schools, hospitals and sanitation. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, on average, 20.88 million people were internally displaced every year by weather-related events between 2008 and 2018.