Amnesty International today warned that not prioritizing climate action could amount to the greatest intergenerational human rights violation in history, as the human rights organization welcomed the first ever Climate Strike organized by civil society in Pakistan on 20 September.
“Amnesty International stands with Pakistani students, activists, environmentalists, women’s rights campaigners, and people from across civil society who are organizing and taking part in the global Climate Strike. The climate crisis affects us all, therefore, all of us in a position to do so need to show up to peacefully call on governments to immediately act against it,” said Rimmel Mohydin, South Asia Campaigner at Amnesty International.
Pakistan is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world yet ranks as one of the least equipped to adapt to it. It has been repeatedly exposed to traumatic weather events exacerbated by climate change and the most marginalized groups bear the brunt of it.
“Our rights to life, food, housing, water and a healthy environment are all threatened by climate change, which also compounds and magnifies existing inequalities. Its increasingly frightening effects have become everyday life for the world’s poorest countries as wealthier countries continue to pass the buck”,” said Rimmel Mohydin.
“I’m marching for our future”
“The warnings are clear. We have to act now or we might not even live to regret it. I am marching because failing to act now is all but guaranteeing mutually-assured destruction for us and the planet,” said Adnan Malik, leading Pakistani actor and film director, who will be supporting Amnesty International at the march.
“I don’t want future generations to face the worst of climate change, and be forced to spend their time worrying about it when they could just be kids instead. That’s why I am striking, and will keep doing so until they take us seriously,” said Iqbal Badruddin, a Fridays for Future organizer in Pakistan and student.
“No one should presume they’re safe from climate change, but no one should feel like their voice does not count. Collective action is seminal in demanding protection from irreversible damage to our planet,” said Sara Hayat, a member of ClimateActionPK that is organizing marches across Pakistan.
Governments must change course
Amnesty International warned that climate change will continue to devastate human life, and so, human rights unless governments act now to change course.
While the Government of Pakistan has spearheaded an ambitious afforestation drive, it must make a concerted effort to reduce emissions, phases-out fossil fuels and to protect the most climate-vulnerable communities.
Millions of people are already suffering from its catastrophic effects in developing countries across the world. The wealthiest countries with historic responsibility for climate change must support countries like Pakistan in their effort to transition to a carbon-free economy.
Pakistan’s foreign policy must include climate justice on its agenda and join the global fight to halve emissions from 2010 levels by 2030, and to net-zero by 2050 – as called for by climate scientists.
“We stand in solidarity with everyone who has decided to demand more for their future, a future that is compromised every day that we allow climate change to get worse. We must collectively own the most pressing crisis of our time and do our part. Very often, that just means showing up,” said Rimmel Mohydin.