20 Jan 2015

Kiribati call for climate change attention at rights review

2:40 pm on 20 January 2015

Kiribati has told a United Nations review of its human rights that the basic right of its people to survive climate change is a high priority.

A Kiribati delegation headed by the Minister of Women, Youth and Social Affairs, told the Human Rights Council in Geneva that he couldn't report on human rights without addressing the challenges from climate change to low lying nations.

Kiribati says climate change has the potential to affect the very basic human right for its people as a distinct culture to survive, the right and access to clean drinking water, to food and the right to have islands they call home.

The government says the UN Human Rights review process will amount to nothing if other major challenges are not addressed.

Meanwhile Kiribati has answered the call by the UN for a national human rights institution by saying it will need assistance to implement such a measure because of scarce resources.

It has also promoted the idea of a regional rights organisation under the Pacific Islands Forum.

The government has pointed to the creation of a new Ministry of Women, Youth and Social Affairs, the creation of a national taskforce and other amendments as ways with which the country was dealing with gender discrimination and violence issues.

Beach in Kiribati

Beach in Kiribati Photo: RNZI