Climate change is not only having a devastating impact on the environments we live in, but also on respect for human rights globally, the UN has warned.

The UN rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, cited the civil wars sparked by a warming planet and the plight of indigenous people in an Amazon ravaged by wildfires and rampant deforestation. She also denounced attacks on environmental activists, particularly in Latin America, and the abuse aimed at high-profile figures such as the teenage campaigner Greta Thunberg.

“The world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope,” she told the UN human rights council in Geneva.Advertisement.

“The economies of all nations, the institutional, political, social and cultural fabric of every state, and the rights of all your people, and future generations, will be impacted” by climate change, she warned.

The UN high commissioner for human rights also denounced the “drastic acceleration of deforestation of the Amazon.

“The fires currently raging across the rainforest may have catastrophic impact on humanity as a whole, but their worst effects are suffered by the women, men and children who live in these areas,” she said.

She urged authorities in Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil to “ensure the implementation of longstanding environmental policies … thus preventing future tragedies”.

The UN rights chief also highlighted the impact climate change is having on insecurity around the world. She cited a UN estimate that 40% of civil wars over the past six decades have been linked to environmental degradation.

Bachelet lamented that those sounding the alarm over the devastating impacts of climate change are often attacked.

“I am disheartened by this violence, and also by the verbal attacks on young activists such as Greta Thunberg and others, who galvanise support for prevention of the harm their generation may bear,” Bachelet said.

“The demands made by environmental defenders and activists are compelling, and we should respect, protect and fulfil their rights.”

Original source: www.theguardian.com