A delegation of Inuit is to travel to Washington DC to provide first-hand testimony of how climate change is destroying their way of life and to accuse the Bush administration of undermining their human rights.
The delegation to Washington will be led by Sheila Watt-Cloutier, the former chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference who was last week nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Speaking yesterday from Iqaluit in Nunavut, Canada, she said: “For us in the Arctic our entire culture depends on the cold. The problem of climate change is what this is all about. At the same time we will be bringing in lawyers to talk about the link between climate change and human rights.”
They will argue before the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (ICHR) that the US’s behaviour puts it in breach of its obligations. “The impacts of climate change, caused by acts and omissions by the US, violate the Inuit’s fundamental human rights protected by the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and other international instruments,” the Inuit argued in a letter to the ICHR.
“Because Inuit culture is inseparable from the condition of their physical surroundings, the widespread environmental upheaval resulting from climate change violates the Inuit’s right to practice and enjoy the benefits of their culture.”