Pacific Island Forum leaders must urgently take climate change and human rights to the ICJ

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The climate change treaty regime has failed to adequately address climate change, but this does not mean international law is irrelevant to solving this global problem.

We Pacific Islanders are already experiencing severe coastal erosion, coral bleaching and loss of our fresh water resources. These environmental changes are now directly impacting our basic human rights. Our rights to food, water, shelter and security are already being directly threatened.

This petition calls upon the leaders of Pacific island nations, as well as Australia and New Zealand, to commence the process of seeking an Advisory Opinion on human rights and climate change from the highest court in the world: the International Court of Justice.

We are not alone: eminent legal experts have recently written and spoken in support of seeking the ICJ’s opinion.  Benefits that will flow from an ICJ Advisory Opinion on human rights and climate change include:

  • Cementing consensus on the scientific evidence of climate change;
  • Providing impetus for more ambitious action under the Paris Agreement;
  • Integrating areas of international law that are currently separate, such as human rights law and environmental law;
  • Providing authoritative baselines for state action on mitigation and international cooperation and assistance; and
  • Providing impetus and guidance for domestic, regional and international adjudications.

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