Delhi demonstration demands compensation from developed nations for climate change

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NEW DELHI - Scores of farmers, workers, migrants, fisher folk, and tribals from all over the country participated in a ‘National Peoples Tribunal on Climate Crisis’ held here on Tuesday, where they narrated stories on how climate change has affected their lives, and sought compensation from the developed countries for climate crisis.

The climate demanded justice from the Government and from the developed countries for creating this crisis.

Addressing the tribunal, Madhya Pradesh Industries and Commerce Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya, who was also the chief guest on the occasion, said developed countries are responsible for bringing about this crisis and, therefore, they must address the rights and claims of these people immediately.

“The Government should make all the efforts possible to redress these impacts,” he added, while emphasizing that policy planning needs to factor in climate change because it is now an established fact.

Nisha Agrawal from Oxfam India, who was also present on the occasion, said that the crisis is irreversible and needs global collaboration, the developed as well as developing countries need to think and act collectively in a rights based manner to address climate change.

“World over people have started bringing claims and suits against climate culprits and also national governments and are looking at litigation as a means to enforce climate justice and ask for stronger legal framework for climate stabilization,” said Agrawal.

“The poor in India depend on agriculture and are particularly vulnerable to the affects of climate change since they are largely dependent on rainfed agriculture and the vagaries of nature hit them the hardest. Give the urgency of this issue, Oxfam India is committed to working with all aspects of the state-the executive branch, members of the parliament, and today, the judiciary-to try and raise awareness about the need to act urgently on this issue,” she added.

Retired Justice Pana Chand Jain, the Convener of the Tribunal, said the Supreme Court of India has given such an expansive interpretation of the Art. 21 of the Constitution of India that protection of food security, livelihood and health of the people is the right of the citizens and can be enforced despite minimal legal framework on climate change.

“There is an urgent need of the International Tribunal on Environment and Climate which can enforce the binding provisions in the Kyoto Protocol,” he stated. number of victims from different states, occupations, agro climatic zones gave evidence before the Jury consisting of Justice Panachand Jain, Justice V S Dave, Justice A K Srivastava, Dr. Syeda Hameed (Member Planning Commission), Prof. A R Nambi (MS Swaminathan Research Foundation), Prof. Jaya Mehta (Economist) and Hari Jai Singh (former President Editors Guild of India).

Ajantha, representing fisherwomen from Negapattinam, Tamil Nadu, said that their lives have gone completely out of gear due to change in the weather cycle and frequent extreme climatic events.

Nilo Malli from Koraput, Odisha, deposed that marginal farmers who are already a victim of agrarian crisis have been further pauperized and turned into menial labour. (ANI)

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