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8 Hum. Rts. & Int'l Legal Discourse 10 (2014)
The Role of the UN Human Rights Council in Addressing Climate Change

handle is hein.journals/hurandi8 and id is 9 raw text is: THE ROLE OF THE UN HUMAN
RIGHTS COUNCIL IN ADDRESSING
CLIMATE CHANGE
MARGARETHA WEWERINKE*

Abstract
This article discusses recent developments related to recognition of the link between
human rights and climate change in international human rights forums. It focuses
on the main human rights body of the United Nations, the Human Rights Council,
which has addressed climate change in three resolutions, two panel discussions and
at its annual Social Forum. The analysis shows that the main challenge faced by the
Human Rights Council as it seeks to address climate change is getting to grips with
the relationship between international human rights law on the one hand and the
principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) on the other. The article argues that this relationship is best captured
through quasi-judicial analysis, in which input from those whose human rights are
affected by climate change is sought. It identifies concrete ways in which the Council
could promote or enable such analysis through the adoption of a further resolution.
More broadly, it demonstrates the capacity of the international human rights system
to interpret laws aimed atpreventing dangerous climate change and to contribute to
their operationalisation in accordance with international human rights law.
Keywords: climate change; Human Rights Council; human rights mechanisms;
international human rights law; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change
PhD candidate, European University Institute, Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Climate Change
Mitigation Research (4CMR) and member of INTLawyers, an international non- governmental
organisation established to promote the international rule of law. An early version of the article has
been published as 4CMR Working Paper No. 4 (2013). I am grateful to colleagues at 4CMR for
comments to this article and to Dr Curtis Doebbler for invaluable input into the first draft. I am also
grateful to participants at the 2013 Peace of Utrecht Conference on Human Rights and Climate
Change for critical feedback and specifically to Mr Douglas Cubie, who served as a respondent.
Finally, I wish to thank the anonymous reviewer for her or his useful comments.

Intersentia

10

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