“Climate crisis is a human rights crisis”: Greenpeace arrives in Fiji, calls for submissions to world’s highest court
SUVA, 31 JULY 2023 – Iconic Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior has arrived in Suva, Fiji on the final stop of its Pacific ship tour.
© Greenpeace / The Roving Rovas
The ship will spend two weeks in Fiji to rally support behind the historic, Pacific-led campaign to take climate change to the world’s highest court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The Rainbow Warrior was welcomed to Suva with a vibrant ceremony which included traditional ‘vaka’ or canoes, as well as speeches from government officials and community leaders.
The crew have spent the last four weeks sailing around Vanuatu and Tuvalu, meeting communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis and listening to their stories. Greenpeace experts also gathered legal testimonies of the human rights impacts of climate change throughout their visit — evidence which will form part of submissions due to the ICJ in October.
From Suva, the ship will travel to Kioa Island to join civil society leaders from across the Pacific as part of the Kioa Climate Emergency dialogue, then onwards to Rabi Island, before returning to Suva.
David Ritter, CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said the team is incredibly humbled to have been welcomed so warmly by leaders and communities across the Pacific:
“From Vanuatu to Tuvalu, we’ve witnessed firsthand the devastating impacts the climate crisis is unleashing on Pacific nations, who are fighting to protect their homes, their culture and their future. What more will it take for governments to act as heat records are shattered around the world, floods and bushfires rage, and sea level rise threatens entire communities?
“The Albanese government vowed to reset its relationship with the Pacific after a decade of neglect. And yet, the financial support directed towards the Pacific is miniscule compared to the billions of taxpayer dollars poured into fossil fuel subsidies every year — a polluting industry that is directly harming the human rights of Pacific people and nations.
“Pacific nation leaders have repeatedly affirmed climate change as the greatest threat to the region. We call on Minister Wong to make a strong submission on behalf of Australia to the International Court of Justice as a statement of support for Pacific survival.”
The push to protect vulnerable nations by issuing an advisory opinion on climate harm, known as the ICJAO, was born in a university classroom in the Pacific. In March, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously voted for a resolution calling on the ICJ to establish the legal obligations of nations in addressing climate change. Submissions are due in October.
Vishal Prasad, Campaign Director of the Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change, said that a successful ICJ advisory opinion would be a powerful tool to support bolder climate action globally:
“An ICJ advisory opinion would ensure that Pacific Island nations have a greater voice on the international stage, and also provide a legal framework for countries around the globe.”
“The climate crisis is a human rights crisis. Hundreds of millions of people in vulnerable countries like Fiji are having their livelihoods, health, food security, and cultures severely impacted.
“We need monumental, global action, and we need it now. An advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice is exactly that. It would mean we could better enforce the Paris Climate Agreement, and ensure human rights are at the centre of all climate responses.”
To arrange an interview please contact:
Kate O’Callaghan in Fiji on +61 406 231 892 (WhatsApp/Signal) or [email protected]
Kimberley Bernard in Fiji on +61 407 581 404 (WhatsApp/Signal) or [email protected]
B-Roll vision: Drone shots of ship arriving, welcome ceremony, can be found here from 1pm FST
For more information and a map of Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s Ship Tour: greenpeace.org.au/act/pacific-campaign