Marjanac is confident that the interpretation of fiduciary duty will be changed. Fidelity is about risk management. The dignity of the individual is the subject of human rights. There are two crises of the modern world. The law will adapt.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects an individual's right to participate in and enjoy their culture.
In the wake of the Second World War, ClientEarth sought to adapt and extend the protections of article 27.
The UN Human Rights Committee, a body of 18 legal experts that oversees compliance with the treaty, received a petition from Marjanac in September.
The islanders have two rights, one of which is their culture and the other of which is their privacy. Everyone has a right to family, home, and culture according to Marjanac. The children told me that if they had to leave the island, they would not be able to leave their loved ones.
Australia's government fought back. In August 2020, it asked the committee to dismiss the case because Australia is not the main or only contributor to global warming, and because the effects of climate change on its citizens are not its legal responsibility. The UN legal experts agreed with the islanders, but the Australian government argued that it was already doing enough to fight climate change.
ClientEarth continued to put pressure on governments as it waited for the UN decision. As the UK sweated through record temperatures, the High Court ruled that the government's net-zero strategy was in violation of the Climate Change Act. Farmers, business owners, and parents sued the government in Poland for not reducing greenhouse gasses. Nine of the country's largest food companies are facing legal action over their use of plastic.
The European Union is helping to strengthen anti-deforestation legislation and the Chinese Supreme Court is being advised on how to green up the Belt and Road Initiative. She says that all they need to say is "Don't make me write another letter."
Three years after the initial complaint, the UN Human Rights Committee agreed with ClientEarth's interpretation of human rights in the face of climate change. Australia was violating the right to culture and the right to be free from interference with privacy. The islanders were asked to be compensated for the harm they have suffered, to engage in meaningful consultations to assess their needs, and to take measures to secure their communities.
The ruling means that other low-lying areas have a legal recourse in their battle to survive. The committee rejected Australia's claim that it can't be held responsible for the effects of climate change.
The news came to Yessie Mosby in the evening. He says that he shed tears of joy and knew that his ancestors were happy. There are a lot of doors that have been opened. I didn't want to be a refugee. Children shouldn't be asked to put their grandma's remains in a bucket.
The article was first published in WIRED UK magazine.