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Islanders Accuse Australia over Passivity on Climate Change, File Complaint

A team of islanders off Australia’s north coast is set to file a human rights complaint to the United Nations in opposition to the Australian authorities on Monday over passivity on climate change, which they are saying is threatening their houses, their lawyers mentioned.

The complaint by eight Torres Strait Islanders highlights the first climate change litigation introduced in opposition to Australia based on human rights, mentioned ClientEarth, the UK-based legislation agency handling the complaint.

“We’re at the moment seeing the results of climate change on our islands each day, with rising seas, tidal surges, coastal erosion, and flooding of our communities,” stated Kabay Tamu, one of the eight islanders.

Torres Strait Islanders are a part of Australia’s indigenous inhabitants, including Aborigines, who reside on small islands situated between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The claimants, supported by U.S. environmental group 350.org, additionally launched a petition marking they want the Australian authorities to secure at the least A$20 million ($14mn) for measures reminiscent of seawalls to guard the islands against rising sea levels.

“Australia’s continued failure to construct infrastructure to guard the islands, and to take action to scaledown greenhouse gas emissions, constitutes a clear breach of the Islanders’ rights to tradition, family, and life,” Sophie Marjanac, the head lawyer on the complaint, stated in a press release.

The Torres Strait Islanders want Australia to reduce carbon emissions by 65% by 2030, which might be way more formidable than the targets set by the conservative authorities and the opposition Labor party.

At the same time, the Islanders need thermal coal to be removed from domestic energy generation and for export. Thermal coal is Australia’s fourth most significant resources export.

The complaint is the most recent in a string of climate change circumstances worldwide focusing on firms and governments, which lawyers expect will increase.

The complaint comes as United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is on a Pacific visit targetted on climate change, flagging that the world was “not on a monitor” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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