Tuesday, 23 September 2014

On environmental and human rights

Readers, I would like to thank everyone who came along to People's Climate Marches on Sunday 21st, the Autumnal Equinox of 2014. I am pleased to say that the People's Climate March in London had an attendance of 30,000 and counting, even if this did not match that of the People's Assembly March held at the summer solstice. The fact that millions of people around the world, including famously UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, marched in 160 nations worldwide for climate justice and to demand action on artificial climate change makes up for that.

Earlier, Amnesty International, who I am a member of, stated that 'environmental rights are human rights'. In case you are perplexed by this statement, here is why environmental rights are human rights as well:

1.We all have a right to food, water, and shelter. We need to protect our planet and conserve and reuse resources in order to maintain this fundamental right and need.

2. We have a right to life as well-just as we should protect human life, we should protect animal life when we can. We also depend on our planet to survive, via means of clean air, uncontaminated food, uncontaminated water, and a suitable climate.

For these reasons, the proposed free-trade agreements known as TTIP and TPP violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on many grounds.

TTIP will violate our human rights simply by: subjugating our rights to clean water, clean air, uncontaminated food, fair justice, a proper education, and others to the profiteering whims of multinational corporations (many environmental laws which those corporations seek to have overturned protect some of our human rights). The use of international arbitration tribunals in these agreements via means of ISDS, where corporations can sue governments but not the other way around, which involve unknown corporate lawyers as judges, will involve a particularly egregious bypassing of remotely fair and democratic processes that are used in our courts. Even the European Court of Justice is more transparent and fair than any of these proposed tribunals (and the ECJ is not exactly on our side as previous judgements of that court have shown).

I believe Amnesty International needs to join the fight against TTIP, TPP, CETA and other 'free-trade agreements' worldwide, as soon as possible, to protect our human rights, and so do other human rights organisations.


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