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MRG: The rhetoric of ‘green transitions’ cannot be used to push ever more deeply into indigenous territories

24 June 2022

This statement to the UN Human Rights Council was delivered by Shikha Dilawri, South Asia Programme Coordinator at Minority Rights Group, at the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change, Human Rights Council, 50th session, item 3, 23 June 2022.

Mister Special Rapporteur,

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) warmly welcomes the establishment of your mandate and congratulates you on your appointment.

We also welcome your first report as Special Rapporteur and wholeheartedly endorse your six thematic priorities. In such subjects as loss and damage, protection of persons displaced across borders by climate change, as well as intergenerational justice, there are significant gaps in the current human rights frameworks that need to be addressed as quickly as possible.

MRG is alarmed by how governments and businesses are using the rhetoric of ‘green transitions’ when pushing ever more deeply into indigenous territories for the sake of REDD+ projects, so-called ‘clean’ energy such as wind farms, and the minerals to be used in electric vehicle batteries. MRG is also deeply concerned about how national park authorities in the name of conservation use violent force to target indigenous communities and displace them from their ancestral lands, as has recently been happening with Batwa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In nearly all cases, very little if any meaningful consultation with local communities takes place, and indigenous peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consent is not at all respected.

The climate crisis severely affects minority communities around the world. Due to deep-seated marginalization, Afro-descendants in the Americas, Dalits in South Asia and Roma in Europe often live precariously in informal settlements at risk of landslides, flooding and coastal erosion. They face discrimination by emergency assistance services. We are pleased to read about your comprehensive consideration of communities in vulnerable situations, for instance in para. 21 on loss and damage.

Mister Special Rapporteur,

As the IPCC has repeatedly warned, time is running out. Your mandate period stretches beyond the half-way mark to the point when the IPCC has stated that damage will be irreversible.

Mister Special Rapporteur, I conclude by assuring you of MRG’s sincerest commitment in supporting you in your very urgent work.

Watch the statement

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