Delivered on 2 March 2017
Delivered by H.E Dr Hala Hameed, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva
Thank you, Mr Vice President,
Let me take this opportunity to thank the moderator and the participants of the panel for a lively discussion on this issue. The effects of climate change on the rights of children is an issue that weighs heavily upon the hearts of every Maldivian alive. As the lowest lying nation on earth, the Maldives stands at the forefront of this issue and has made addressing it national priority.
My delegation welcomed the Paris Agreement and continues to emphasize the importance of its successful implementation. We continue to call for participatory decision-making, the protection of the rights of the most vulnerable, education and access to remedy, among other issues. We are concerned to see that climate change disproportionately affects people and groups in vulnerable situations, including the poor, indigenous peoples, women and especially children.
Mr Vice President,
Let me capture the context of the Maldives in this discussion. Twenty seven per cent of our population living on the dispersed low lying small islands of the Maldives are children under fifteen years of age; for our children; climate change is a looming threat; a threat which question their mere survival; and hence a threat to their human right to existence.
Indeed, our recognition of the linkages beween the rights of the child and climate change in the context of human rights must necessarily evolve from one of bare survivial. While discussions on health issues, food security and indeed survival are necessary components of this dialogue, we must also move beyond; to a child’s right to retain her culture, traditions, and heritage in concert with respect for the natural environment.
Across the globe, the situation is so dire, that nations today consider cross-border migration as a necessary long-term precausion – a policy that will directly affect our children, their children or their children’s children. Not only would this be an ireperable degrading of national sovereignty, it would rob a child of her identity. A child without a people, culture, or heritage – forced from her home by climate change and our inability to mitigate and adapt to its effects, and left as a second class citizen on foreign soil.
When looking towards the rights of our children, in relation to climate change, and from the context of human rights; our obligation is profound and our mandate clear.
Mr. Vice President,
We cannot let only half the story be told, nor can we selectively choose the rights we would promote and protect. Once again, I thank the pannelists for the diversity of views they have presented, and commend the efforts of this Council. It is the hope of my delegation, that we will see better cooperation between the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Human Rights Council moving forward, and a greater spirit of cooperation from the global community of nations.
Thank you Mr. Vice President