“No climate justice without human rights” protests follow after COP27

Muiris O'Cearbhaill

Protesters gathers in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Protesters gathered in Egypt last week to voice concerns over the human rights of climate change activists imprisoned in the country at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) last week.

The protesters demanded that industrialised nations pay the reparations towards climate action and for the freedom of political prisoners who were jailed while protesting climate change.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in the UN “Blue Zone”, an area subject to international law and under UN jurisdiction, in the Egyptian capital despite protesting restrictions in the area. Many demonstrators held signs and chanted slogans such as, “No climate justice without human rights” and “Free them all”.

COP27 saw many protests over the week and into the weekend after the event was extended. Several protesters entered the building to disrupt Russia’s address at the conference, protesting the invasion of Ukraine and the nation’s use of fossil fuels. 

Demonstrators called Russian delegates “War criminals” and criticised their efforts towards tackling climate change. Russian delegates said that the nation is still trying to tackle climate change and claimed that many nations were using a “difficult geopolitical situation” to justify backsliding on climate commitments.

COP26 President, Alok Sharma, expressed displeasure with the difference in motions that were made during COP27 and highlighted many of the issues that the conference failed to address in his, now infamous, “not in this text” address.

Sharma said that countries need to “go a lot further and a lot faster” when it comes to climate action. The worries of “backsliding” on previous commitments overshadowed this year’s African conference, including financial aid being provided to poorer countries so they can assist in climate justice.

The conference agreed to establish a fund for poorer countries that are currently being affected by climate change, however, failed to establish a plan to slow down climate emissions.

Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, was present in Sharm El-Sheikh and told RTÉ, “We’re not happy that there’s enough ambition in [the agreement] on climate mitigation… What’s in this text doesn’t give us the leap we need to make in that.”

Secretary-General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, said that the planet is “still in the emergency room” and called for a quick and drastic reduction of emissions. Guterres added, “This is an issue that this COP did not address” and claimed that the efforts made were “not enough”.

Muiris O’Cearbhaill

Image Credit: Flickr.com