The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70 – CIDSE
Credit: UN

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70

Credit: UN

Today, 10 December 2018, the CIDSE network is joining voices all over the world to celebrate Human Rights Day and the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Below you will find an article on climate and human rights by Stefan Salzmann from Fastenopfer, CIDSE’s member in Switzerland as well as initiatives or press releases by other members.
CIDSE is also supporting a side event on human rights, extractives, mining and climate change in Katowice/Poland.

Human Rights Day: we’re causing the Deluge (this article is also available in French and German on Fastenopfer’s website).

Negotiations at the 24th Climate Conference in Katowice are in full swing. Climate change has long ago ceased to be an environmental problem only of concern to science and politics: everyone is now able to feel and see climate change. Today, on Human Rights Day, it is particularly important to note how many human rights are threatened by climate change.

Exceedingly hot summers, melting glaciers, hurricanes, droughts and desertification or raising sea levels are threatening coastal areas and their inhabitants. We’re only too well aware of climate change – in Switzerland and through the media. The fact is that environmental disasters threaten numerous human rights and poor people are disproportionately affected. They have few possibilities of adapting, yet they have contributed the least to climate change.

Extreme weather conditions threaten their lives – and thus their right to life. Changes in the climate increasingly causes crop failures and thus the right to food is no longer ensured. Both droughts and floods violate the right to water and hygiene. Heat-induced smog compromises health and thus the human right to health. Changing coastal landscapes lead people to migrate to unknown territories without infrastructures or social networks – the human right to decent housing is therefore also violated.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of human rights threatened by climate change: for example, the Manoki people live in Brazil’s rain forest. They depend on a pristine forest; it is the foundation of their existence and often a spiritual abode. Forests are cut down to make way for dam projects and C02 is released, which further accelerates climate change. The right to development or the rights of indigenous people fall by the wayside.

Stefan Salzmann is Climate and Energy Officer at Fastenopfer.

Fastenopfer Brasilian partner resized

Fastenopfer coordinator Luciano Padrão talking
to local communities in Brazil (© Fastenopfer) 


Broederlijk Delen (Belgium)70 jaar mensenrechten
Human rights is a recurring theme throughout Broederlijk Delen’s work, not only in their partner countries, but also in Belgium. At a time when the international human rights framework is increasingly openly questioned, it is more than ever crucial for Broederlijk Delen to remind the duty-bearers of their obligations and to defend the rights of the most vulnerable and protect human rights defenders.

BD 70 jaar mensenrechtenverklaring

(© Broederlijk Delen)

Cordaid (Netherlands)Cartoons on human rights in the Netherlands” – “ Do you believe health is a human right?”
Cordaid and Kompass published cartoons on human rights in The Netherlands. The cartoons depict human rights problems in The Netherlands, based on the research of UN reports.
Cordaid also published an article on the right to health and Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Cordaid Cartoon HR declaration article 1 900x560

(© Cordaid)

Development & Peace (Canada)We’re still waiting for the ombudsman” (French)
As member of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, Development and Peace is delivering a petition to the Trudeau government signed by over 200 organisations from 56 countries around the world urging for the creation of a new ombudsperson’s office for people affected by the activities of Canadian mining, oil, and gas companies, as promised by the Canadian government in January 2018. The letter was initiated by the Latin American Catholic Church-led network Iglesia y Mineria at the Thematic Social Forum on Mining held in Johannesburg, South Africa in November.

DP still waiting for the ombudsperson

(© Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability)

FOCSIV (Italy): “La Dichiarazione Universale dei Diritti Umani compie 70 anni. Aggiorna – Aggiungi – Dichiara »
One member of Focsiv, PRO.DO.C.S launched a national competition for Italian schools on the theme “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70. Update – Add – Declare”. The final award ceremony will take place on 18 December.

Focsiv HR declarationi 70 yrs final

(© Focsiv)

Manos Unidas (Spain)Sin Derecho a la Alimentación, no es posible garantizar el resto de Derechos Humanos”.
On the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Manos Unidas is denouncing the non-compliance of the Right to Food. Following an international meeting with partner organisations on the right to food in Africa, they publish the “Dakar Declaration” issued by their partners and launch a series of 7 video interviews. Starting 10 December, one video will be released every day, in addition to one with the highlights of the meeting.

Manos Unidas campaign right to food

(© Manos Unidas)

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns (USA) Civil Society calls for Protection of Human Rights in Development Interventions

The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns joined thirty organisations calling on the U.S. government to protect human rights in development interventions.They call the United States, other States, and development finance institutions (DFIs) to ensure that development interventions support the realisation of human rights, avoid causing or contributing to rights abuses, promote an enabling environment for public participation within the development processes, and safeguard human rights defenders.

Maryknoll Human Rights Defenders meme

(© Maryknoll Office for Global Concern)

MISEREOR (Germany) “Gefährdete Menschenrechte
MISEREOR emphasizes the great importance and relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to its tasks worldwide. “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a guideline and reference point for our work, but we are currently working harder to protect human rights, as we are currently experiencing a fundamental crisis affecting both the human rights framework and its foundations,” stated Pirmin Spiegel, MISEREOR’s Director.

Teaser 70 Jahre Menschenrechte negativ HP


SCIAF (Scotland)The struggle for human rights in Chocó, Colombia
One in three human rights defenders killed in 2017 was Colombian. SCIAF and its partners Caritas Colombia, Tierra Digna, the Diocese of Quibdó, Diocese of Apartadó, and Diocese of Istmina-Tadó, have been working with communities along the River Atrato, Colombia since 2006 to defend their human rights. SCIAF partners at the University of Glasgow, Mo Hume and Allan Gillies, talk about the struggle for human rights in Chocó, Colombia.

Sciaf River Atrato detail


CIDSE supported the organisation and participated in the Thematic Social Forum on Mining and Extractive Economy which took place in Johannesburg/South Africa on 12-15 November. Partners present in Katowice/Poland for the COP24 international conference on climate change will report back on the outcomes of the Thematic Social Forum with a focus on human rights.

Flyer TSF side event COP24


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