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Landmark human rights and climate change investigation could help millions worldwide

 

  • Kumi Naidoo to testify in landmark human rights and climate change investigation 

Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, will be testifying tomorrow in a landmark international investigation of some of the world’s largest oil, gas and coal companies, who stand accused of responsibility for human rights abuses because of their contribution to climate change.

Knowing what we know about climate change, it is not hard to see that the business model of fossil fuel companies is literally putting our lives and rights in danger. It is time for a reckoning.
Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International

“For years we have watched as our loved ones suffer through the increasing devastation wrought by climate change. Now, it is time that we hold those most responsible to account. This investigation has the potential to establish a precedent that could help hundreds of millions of people worldwide,” said Kumi Naidoo.

The petition is being brought by Filipino survivors of the 2013 Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and other extreme weather events, along with more than a dozen organizations including Greenpeace Southeast Asia. It names 47 fossil-fuel companies as responsible for the human rights abuses resulting from climate change, such as the loss of life of those killed in the typhoon.

BP, BHP Billiton, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total and Suncor are among the companies that are being investigated by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines. The petitioners cite research showing that these companies are responsible for the “lion’s share” of global carbon emissions. Research has shown that just 100 companies are the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988.

“The battle against climate change and the battle for human rights are part of one and the same struggle. As the new head of Amnesty International, and former leader of Greenpeace International, it means a lot to me personally to be a part of this important investigation,” said Kumi Naidoo.

“This investigation should act as a warning signal to fossil fuel companies everywhere that they need to quickly shift to clean energy. What these brave Filipino women and men have proved by bringing this case is that people refuse to be victims. They don’t plan to sit idly by as their future is taken from them.”

“Knowing what we know about climate change, it is not hard to see that the business model of fossil fuel companies is literally putting our lives and rights in danger. It is time for a reckoning.”

It is the world’s first ever national human rights commission investigation into corporate responsibility for climate change. The findings are expected next year.

If successful, it could become the first official finding of corporate responsibility for the climate crisis by a human rights body, creating a strong global precedent for further legal action against corporations.