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AFP
May 14, 2019

Climate change: Indigenous Australians take govt to UN

World

AFP
May 14, 2019

SYDNEY: Indigenous residents of low-lying islands off northern Australia will submit a landmark complaint with the United Nations on Monday accusing the government of violating their human rights by failing to tackle climate change.

The Torres Strait Islanders will tell the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva that rising seas caused by global warming are threatening their homelands and culture, lawyers representing the group said.

The lawyers, from the non-profit ClientEarth, said the case was the first of its kind to be lodged with the UN equating government inaction on climate change to a human rights violation. In their complaint, the islanders ask the UN to find that international human rights law requires Australia to reduce its emissions to at least 65 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The country should become carbon neutral by 2050, phasing out its use and export of coal completely, they say.

The complaint also demands the government allocate Aus$20 million for emergency infrastructure like sea walls to protect Torres Strait communities. "Advancing seas are already threatening homes, as well as damaging burial grounds and sacred cultural sites," the claimants said in a statement.

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