“We must look after our island, the way it has looked after us. The bosom of this land is our mother, and the water surrounding it is our father. We have to protect them, our islands our home”
– Yessie Mosby, Zenadh Kes Masig man and claimant
Torres Strait Islanders are on the frontline of the climate crisis, and urgent action is needed to ensure they can remain on their Islands. Right now, king tides, erosion, inundation and coral bleaching are threatening the homes and cultures of Torres Strait Islander people, while the Australian Government refuses to address the climate crisis.
Our Islands Our Home is a campaign led by Torres Strait Islanders to protect their island homes.
As part of this, eight claimants from Zenadh Kes (Torres Strait Islands) also known as the #TorresStrait8 have brought a human rights complaint against the Australian Federal Government to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations over the Government’s inaction on climate change.
The claimants have five demands of the Australian Government:
- Fund adaptation programs that will allow Zenadh Kes communities to adapt to climate impacts
- Commit to going 100% renewables in Australia in the next 10 years
- Support Zenadh Kes communities to build community-owned renewable energy
- Transition away from fossil fuels as rapidly as possible through a just transition for workers
- Push the world to increase global ambition and keep warming to less than 1.5 degrees
Momentum is building in the lead up to the UN Human Rights Committee decision on the claim – expected in 2021. Since launching Our Islands Our Home:
- More than 28,000 people have signed the petition!
- Powerful acts of solidarity have taken place across the country. For example, Traditional Owners held a demonstration in Townsville, supported by the Tokelauan community. Pacific Climate Warriors held a “Sunday Kai” in Meanjin (Brisbane) for Torres Strait Islanders and students at Abergowrie College held a virtual rock concert.
- Media such as ABC, New York Times, The Guardian and NITV have published stories about the campaign
- Zenadh Kes artists such as Dylan Mooney and George Gabey have produced stunning artwork for the campaign whilst musicians like Chris Tamwoy and spoken word artist Endless Yarning have used their platforms to raise awareness.
Our Islands Our Home is supported by 350.org Australia, ClientEarth, the environmental law charity supporting the UN complaint, the land and sea council Gur A Baradharaw Kod; and the Seed Youth Indigenous Climate Network.