In a historic decision, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee found on Friday 23 September that Australia’s failure to adequately adapt to climate change violates the human rights of Torres Strait Islanders. It is a landmark victory worth celebrating as part of a broader trend in climate change litigation which has seen human rights put forward to hold both states and corporations accountable. The decision adds to the pressure mounting against Australia to take climate change seriously.
After the Sharma decision, we’re once again asking what does the human right to a healthy environment mean in Australia?
On 7 April 2022 the globe marks World Health Day and this year’s theme —’Our Planet, Our Health’—draws attention to ‘the single biggest threat facing humanity … [t]he climate crisis’. Australians need no reminders about the already devastating impacts of climate change with record-breaking floods having recently displaced thousands and the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires scarred into our memory.