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Asia-Europe seminar focuses on human rights impacts of climate change

Graphic: David R. Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights & Environment

The crucial role of NHRIs in promoting and protecting human rights in relation to climate change was highlighted during the seminar.

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The APF attended the 21st Informal Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Seminar on Human Rights held in Luxembourg and online on 16 – 18 March 2022.  The Seminar was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and focused on the theme of human rights and climate change.

The event was attended by over 150 participants, including NHRIs representatives, UN representatives, government officials, academics and civil society members from 48 ASEM partner countries.  

A plethora of climate change and human rights issues were covered through keynote addresses, presentations and working group discussions, including the following topics:

  • Reinforcing socio-ecological resilience of communities through information and public participation 
  • Promoting the full enjoyment of human rights by all persons affected by climate change
  • Green, equitable and inclusive: Innovative ideas on international cooperation to address the impacts of climate change on human rights
  • Taking stock of national and international human rights regimes to protect against the consequences of climate change

    The crucial role of NHRIs, and the need to strengthen and support NHRIs in their promotion and protection of human rights in relation to climate change, were discussed and highlighted during the seminar.  

    Graphic: Participants at the 21st ASEM Seminar

    Commissioner Roberto Cadiz from the Philippines Commission on Human Rights delivered a closing speech on the final day of the Seminar in which he emphasised the role of NHRIs in “upholding human dignity” in the face of climate change.

    National Human Rights Institutions … are able to navigate through the labyrinth of bureaucratic politics and offer realistic human rights and climate change targets adapted to their respective countries.

    Asia Europe Foundation

    NHRIs are the interface between civil society, government, private sector and the international community. They also collaborate with other NHRIs and play an important role in planning and implementing national climate commitments, laws and policies.  

    Given their broad and flexible mandate, National Human Rights Institutions are well placed to seek remedies to human rights violation concerns resulting from the adverse impacts of climate change and national climate change related frameworks.

    Asia Europe Foundation

    An example of the work of NHRIs in responding to the human rights impacts of climate change is the inquiry by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR), which called for a thorough investigation into the role of fossil fuel companies in climate change resulting in human rights violations.

    The Seminar outcomes, main recommendations and report will be finalised and made available on the Asia Europe Foundation website.

    Date 29 April 2022

    Image credits

    1. David R. Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights & Environment - Asia-Europe Foundation https://asef.org/projects/asemhrs21/
    2. Participants at the 21st ASEM Seminar - Asia-Europe Foundation https://asef.org/projects/asemhrs21/