Source: OraTaiao: New Zealand Climate & Health
Council, 18 November 2016
World leaders are meeting in Marrakesh to bring to life the
promises made to limit climate change in the Paris Agreement.
Earlier this week Rhys Jones, a Maori doctor and co-convenor of
OraTaiao: The NZ Climate & Health Council, called for climate
action that protects human rights, especially indigenous rights,
children's rights and the right to health.
Dr Jones is in Morocco at COP22 participating in an event hosted
by the World Health Organization and the UN High Commissioner for
"This year is set again to be the hottest year on record and
global inaction on climate change is already harming people's right
to health, especially for children and indigenous peoples," Dr
"However it's not just climate change itself, but also our
responses to climate change that can lead to a breach of these
rights. Governments, including New Zealand's, are accountable under
international agreements not just to act on climate change, but to
do so in ways that protect, improve and uphold human rights.
"In New Zealand and Oceania, Maori and indigenous Pacific
communities are being hit first and hardest by the impacts of
climate change, undermining their right to health. For example,
extreme weather events are destroying communities and blocking
access to health services. At the same time, the UN Committee on
the Rights of the Child has criticised New Zealand for failing to
protect children's rights, including through inaction on climate
Dr Jones said upholding human rights is one of the fundamental
duties of government and a safe, healthy climate underpins many of
"So to protect human rights, climate policies need to be urgent,
transformative and to centralise human wellbeing and fairness."