JAKARTA, Indonesia, March 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) calls for environmental degradation to be treated as a human rights issue. This comes after the Sweden-based institution’s reports found that problems such as air pollution and climate change-linked disasters have increasingly impacted people’s livelihoods.
RWI’s recent publication series titled ‘Prosperous and Green in the Anthropocene: The human right to a healthy environment in Southeast Asia‘ found that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is seriously affected by the impacts of climate change and natural resource depletion.
It is found that 39% of the population relies on solid biomass, such as fuelwood, charcoal, and agricultural residue for household cooking – an overreliance resulting in 3.8 million deaths each year due to indoor air pollution caused by solid biomass burning, and an increase in lung cancer rates in women.
“Worsening natural disasters and increasing pollution are more pronounced in Southeast Asia. We launched this publication series to address the unprecedented social-ecological challenges, the importance of human rights and gender equality so we can join forces to tackle these challenges,” said Victor Bernard, Programme Officer at RWI.
Together with ASEAN, countries in the region are applying new policy frameworks, comprising of clean air, water and sanitation, a safe climate, sustainable food systems, non-toxic environments, healthy ecosystems, and biodiversity, to minimize the environmental impact on individuals, especially vulnerable groups.
Southeast Asian countries have begun taking essential steps to protect human rights and gender equality in the face of environmental dangers. For example, introducing measures and legislative systems to protect women, children, indigenous peoples, and disabled community, who are more exposed to environmental risks. Yet, more can be done.
On top of these policy frameworks, RWI’s reports – written by 11 lawyers and policy researchers – call for a wider variety of measures, including increased direct engagement with communities to tackle environmental issues through online advocacy and social media.
Leading by example, RWI is currently running an environmental awareness campaign in collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights.
The campaign involves regional influencers Martin Anugrah, Hessel Steven and Wilda Octaviana, who virtually invite younger generations to protect human rights and enhance sustainability through every day practices.
Access the Publication Series HERE
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