Monday, December 10, 2007

How Carbon Emissions Cause Human Trafficking: The Human Rights Connection (Plus Video)

It is no secret that critical dangers—such as hunger, climate disasters, and drought—now confront people across the world, and that these threats are exacerbated by human-triggered climate change. But in the official meetings in Bali, there's been little discussion of the fact that women are disproportionately threatened by climate change.

This is true both because it's women's responsibility to provide their families with food, water, fuel wood, and other natural resources being destroyed by climate change; and because women have far fewer resources to survive and adapt to climate change. This year, governments have finally started discussing the pretty obvious fact that poor people will be the ones hurt first and worst by climate change. But few are talking about the fact that 70% of poor people worldwide are women.

During our many meetings, briefings, and discussions here in Bali, we have emphasized the need to infuse issues of gender and social justice into the climate change discussion.

To drive the point home, MADRE organized a public panel alongside the official discussions. We were joined by Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; Simone Lovera of the Global Forest Coalition; and Anastasia Pinto of the Centre for Organisation Research and Education in India.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz laid out her critique of the dominant scheme being promoted as a solution to climate change: the carbon trade. Simone Lovera spoke of the human rights violations perpetuated by agrofuel plantations in Paraguay. And Anastasia Pinto talked about what happens to many women and children in the immediate aftermath of climate disasters. Here's what she had to say:

"The first ones to reach the disaster scene are not the rescue workers, the police, or the humanitarian aid agencies. The first ones to arrive are the traffickers. They descend within 24 hours and are gone again within 72 hours—just as the aid agencies begin to arrive. The traffickers simply sweep the area, picking up dazed children who are wandering about lost and young women who are frantically searching for their babies. Everyone is desperate to escape the area, so people go with them willingly. Once the women and children—some as young as three or four—realize that these men are not taking them to safety or helping them find their families, it is too late. By then they have been pushed into the most damaging, hazardous, and soul-destroying work there is. Climate disasters are a golden opportunity for this industry."

Below we've posted a few videos from the MADRE side event.

Simone Lovera, on the effects of agrofuel plantations on Indigenous Peoples:

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, on the faulty logic of the carbon trade:

Yifat Susskind, on the dangers of widespread agrofuel expansion:

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