Today 13 September 2022, Center for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD) and its research partners Shariatpur Development Society-SDS, MAASAUS and Badaban Sangho have organized a press conference on “Human Rights Violation in the Context of Climate Change: Communicating ground evidence to the UNHCR’s special rapporteur on Human Rights of Climate change” at National Press Club, Dhaka.

The event commenced with the welcome speech from Md Shamsuddoha, Chief Executive of CPRD and was facilitated by Md. Akib Jabed, Project Coordinator of CPRD. A number of representatives from CSOs including Ms. Rabeya Begum, Executive Director of SDS and Chairperson of CANSA Steering Committee, Bangladesh, Mr. Sharif Jamil (General Secretary of BAPA), Ms. Marina Hasda, Executive Director of MAASAUS, Ms. Lipi Rahman, Executive Director of Badabon Sangho, Mr. Nikhil Chandra Bhadra (Senior Journalist of Kaler Kantho), several media personnel and a range of CPRD staffs joined the event.

Climate change impacts are causing disproportionate impacts and forcing people to compromise their basic human rights, a study sharing seminar in the national press club in Dhaka reveals. Speakers in the seminar demanded a stand-alone legal instrument under the UNFCCC. They put this demand at such a time when the UNHCR’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change, Dr Ian Fry, is currently visiting Bangladesh to capture relevant evidence from the ground. 

Center for Participatory Research and Development and its research partners SDS, MAASAUS and Badaban Shangho conducted the study in 600 families in Shariarpur, Rajshahi and Satkhira districts. The study identified an increase in dropping out of schools, child marriage, social and sexual harassment, abuse, gender-based violence, child labour etc. in the erosion displaced communities. An increase in women’s uterus infection, preeclampsia, miscarriage etc. due to forced/helplessly intake and use of saline water in the southwest coastal areas. An increase of involuntary migration from the Barind areas while leaving women burdened with extra work and exposure to the social risks e.g., sexual violence. The study identified a clear link of rights violations especially when the residual impacts of extreme weather event and slow processes become persistent and force people to compromise their basic needs and requirements.

Reflecting on the study findings, Sharif Jamil, General Secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (BAPA) said that it’s not the climate change impacts only, there are other issues like governance failure, power and class domination, socio-political marginalization and exclusion etc., which act as the triggering factors of vulnerability. We need to address those also, otherwise, we might fail to protect rights, he added.

Nikhil Bhadra, Senior Reporter, Kaler Kontho hailed the research findings as they established a causal relationship between climate change impacts and human rights violations.  He emphasizes more such research to capture on-the-ground evidence.

CPRD Chief Executive Md Shamsuddoha emphasizes the establishment of a legal instrument or framework under the UNFCCC to safeguard rights of the climate victims. He also demanded IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) special report on human rights and climate change. Such a report would advance a science-based argument for establishing a multi-lateral legal instrument for protecting human rights of the climate victims. Rabeya Begum, Executive Director SDS and said that ‘Let not there be a single more instance of child marriage, harassment and gender-based violence’. Countries are beholden by a number of UN Conventions and by their respective constitutions to ensure and safeguard fundamental citizenry rights. Among others. Lipi Rahman, Executive Director of Badabon Shangho,and Merina Husda, Executive Director MAASAUS spoke at the event.

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