Imperiled indigenous Australians seek climate justice at UN

May 15, 2019, 8:17 AM EDT
(Source: Brad Marsellos/flickr)
(Source: Brad Marsellos/flickr)

In a first-of-its-kind case, a group of indigenous people from the low-lying Torres Strait Islands off Australia’s northeast coast are lodging a complaint against their own country at the United Nations Human Rights Committee seeking climate justice.

The petitioners contend that Australia’s inaction against climate change has imperiled their culture and ancestral homeland by exposing them to higher tides, more frequent flooding, and rising sea temperatures, degrading marine environment and in turn, their social and emotional well-being, writes Eco Watch.

This is the first time a complaint about government inaction on climate change links to the violation of human rights, notes Al Jazeera. The islanders have urged the UN to rule that Australia must reduce its emissions to at least 65 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 to conform with international human rights law.

The group also demands Australia to appropriate 20 million Australian dollars to build emergency infrastructure to protect the indigenous community from rising seas.