The climate emergency is a threat to human rights and human life

Statement at the 43rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Watch statement delivered by youth climate activist, Paloma Costa:

My name is Paloma Costa and I am from a region where the Amazon is threatened and human rights seem to mean nothing. I am the outcome of this dominant paradigm of development, an economic model that we insist that "sustains" our nations but is not sustainable at all. Where mining and large enterprises are destroying our land and our people. 

So, I want to state something today: Our lives are not for sale. Our lands are not for sale. We are facing a systemic crisis and we cannot come with market solutions to human problems. 

While we are here convened and discussing human rights, there are still people being killed, arrested and oppressed, just for being social-environmentalists, forest protectors or activists. There are still negotiations of climate change lead by deniers of science and deniers of the climate crisis. The climate emergency is a threat to human rights and human life. And we are drowning in your lack of action in order to make deep structural changes in our society. 

And we have the solutions! We can defeat local struggles if it becomes a global fight! What more do we need to see to start turning all those resolutions and recommendations available into commitments and policies? To adopt mechanisms where people have responsibility for their actions and recommendations given really guide the parties, in an inclusive, deliberative and binding way?

That’s why I stand here, to amplify those unheard voices of young people whose human rights are being violated, especially in the global south. But what I really wanted to see is all of these voices here with me, because we are the conscience in the work you do, and we are ready to be part of the solution and take climate action NOW! We just need to be heard and that our calls turn into concrete action. So I still have hope. Because, your pencils have both the power to heal or to kill. So what will you choose?

We all have a dream of a beautiful world, and we should honour that dream by doing the necessary work to make it happen. I want to be a co-creator of the world I dream of. The indigenous united themselves in Raoni’s land to protect their territories and as Célia Xakriabá, said: the limits of these lands are in our conscience. So, are you conscious to unite and protect our planet? 


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