Ten million people have signed a petition calling for a "fair, ambitious and binding climate treaty" to be signed by world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this week.
The petition, which was delivered to key figures at the start of the conference on Monday was organized by TckTckTck, campaigning hub for over 50 international organizations.
Amnesty International has been campaigning as part of the Tck Tck Tck coalition and helped collect signatures for the petition. A delegation from the organization will be taking part in COP15.
At a conference organized by Amnesty International on 30 November to discuss the impact of climate change on human rights, Secretary General Irene Khan issued a joint statement with Mary Robinson – former President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of the Ethical Globalization Initiative.
The statement said that if governments fail to act at Copenhagen, "basic human rights for the world's poorest and most marginalised communities will hang in the balance. The rights to food, water, shelter and health all risk being undermined by climate change."
Observed and projected changes attributable to climate change include the contraction of snow-covered areas; shrinking of sea ice and melting of polar ice caps; rise of sea levels; increased frequency of hot extremes and heat waves; increase in areas affected by drought; and increased intensity of tropical cyclones.
There is link between such environmental impacts and the ability to realize a range of human rights.
Acute water shortages and decreased crop yields in the poorer region of the world, to take just two examples, would have grave implications for the rights of millions of people.
The petition was handed over to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and COP 15 President and Danish Climate Minster Connie Hedegaard.
At the handover, 15 young people from all over the world held up large scale "building blocks" which spelled out "10 million people expect a fair, ambitious and binding deal" to show leaders that all the elements required for an effective climate treaty are present.
TckTckTck chair Kumi Naidoo said the size of the petition demonstrated the huge groundswell of support for world leaders to deal with the climate crisis.
Amnesty International's Demand Dignity campaign aims to end the human rights violations that drive and deepen global poverty.
The campaign is mobilizing people all over the world to demand that governments, corporations and others, who have power, listen to the voices of those living in poverty and recognize and protect their rights.