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Over 100 000 citizens demand the United Nations (UN) to recognise a new human right – the right to a healthy planet.
Citizens from around the world are demanding that the right to a clean, healthy environment is made a Universal Human Rights. Over 100 000 people have signed the petition.
Right now, as the United Nations General Assembly is taking place, the UN’s Human Rights Council is meeting. This new human right was tabled at the Human Rights Council by five Member States. This is an important first step to resolutions in the Council and eventually the General Assembly.
According to WHO, 23% of global deaths are linked to the damage and destruction of our natural environment, while hundreds of millions of people suffer from illnesses related to unhealthy and unnatural environments. Climate change directly results in more frequent and intense storms, droughts, wildfires and rising sea levels, which in turn threaten the lives of billions of people. The COVID-19 pandemic has its roots in habitat loss and illegal wildlife trade. This new human right can help ensure that the global green recovery the world needs to rebuild society following the pandemic takes both the biodiversity and the climate emergencies into account.
Dr. David R. Boyd, United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment mentioned that,“The right to a healthy planet, as a universally recognized human right, would be a powerful addition to the toolkit for saving the planet. The right to a healthy environment already provides the foundation for much of the progress we are seeing in different nations around the globe. What we need to do now is seize this moment of global eco-crisis to secure United Nations recognition of this right so that everyone, everywhere benefits. The human right to a healthy planet, if recognized by all nations, could be the most important human right of the 21st century.”
Patricia Zurita, CEO, BirdLife International also added,“Our planet’s health is our health. If our planet is sick, we become sick. And right now, our planet has never been more ill. The survival of humanity is already threatened by the climate and biodiversity crises, and this pandemic has pushed us one step closer to the brink. In order to transform, and save society, the starting point must be to ensure that every person has the same baseline – guaranteeing everyone the right to a healthy planet.”
Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano said,“The world is already experiencing a pandemic scientifically believed to be caused by a zoonotic disease. We surely can’t afford to shut the world down resulting from another careless, needless human-man mishandling of wildlife and mismanagement of biodiversity resources. The responsibility is on us all to use all available machinery and media to restore what we have lost in terms of nature, hence the essence of the right to a healthy planet”