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Is climate change worse than war?

The plight of people displaced through climate should be investigated, said the United Nations expert on human rights and climate change Ian Fry.

Mr Fry is the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change.

According to him, tackling the devastating effects of extreme weather changes and disasters on communities in vulnerable situations across the world will be a top priority.

The plight of people displaced through climate should be investigated, said the United Nations experts on human rights and climate change Ian Fry (L). Picture: UN

Fry noted that the key element of his plan would be to investigate the plight of people displaced by the impacts of climate change.

He said that of 59.1 million people internally displaced in 2021 across the world, most were caused by climate-related disasters.

He noted that the number was far higher than displacement due to armed conflict.

“We are faced with an intolerable tide of people moving from their homes due to the impacts of climate change,” Mr Fry said.

In the Pacific, the human cost of climate change can be seen on daily basis. From coastal villages which have been relocated, places where flooding has become a new norm and for people who have had to leave behind places where generations have called home.

“The huge human cost of the climate crisis is being ignored. We hear of disaster relief, but the long-term costs are not being addressed. We must provide lasting support for people impacted by climate change,” said Mr Fry.”

In his report to the Council, the Special Rapporteur outlined a six-point plan to address the human rights aspects of the problem.

The plight of people displaced through climate should be investigated, said the United Nations experts on human rights and climate change Ian Fry (L). Picture: UN

Communities in vulnerable situations, including indigenous peoples, peasants, migrants, children, women, persons with disabilities and people living in small island developing states and least developed countries, are disproportionately at risk from adverse impacts of climate change, the UN expert said.

He also highlighted the many non-economic losses stemming from climate change and its consequences.

“For instance, in countries where I have worked and visited in the Pacific for the last 20 years, people are witnessing the graves of their loved ones being washed out into the sea,” the expert said.

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Fry expressed particular concern about people displaced across international borders due to climate change.

“There is no legal definition for these so-called climate change refugees, and they are not defined as refugees under the UN Refugee Convention. As a result, these people may fall through the cracks when it comes to protection,” he warned.

As the UN’s first Special Rapporteur on climate change and its impact on human rights, Fry said these were only two issues he was investigating.
“Much more needs to be done.”

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