Call on the PM to protect Torres Strait Islanders on the climate frontline!
Torres Strait Islanders are bringing the first climate change case against the Australian federal government over human rights.
Supported by the region’s land and sea council Gur A Baradharaw Kod (GBK) and represented by lawyers with leading environmental law non-profit ClientEarth, Torres Strait Islanders are taking a climate change complaint against Australia to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations. This case is the first of its kind in the world.
The Islanders will ask the UN committee to find that international human rights law means that Australia must increase its emission reduction target to at least 65% below 2005 levels by 2030, going net zero by 2050, and phasing out coal.
The Torres Strait is a pristine wilderness region, containing the most northerly part the Great Barrier Reef. The area is home to one of the world’s oldest living cultures, as well as rare species such as endangered turtles and dugongs.
But climate change is putting life on the islands of the Torres Strait at risk. Advancing seas are already threatening homes, as well as damaging burial grounds and sacred cultural sites. Many Islanders are worried that their islands could quite literally disappear in their lifetimes without urgent action, with severe impacts on their ability to practice their law and culture.
Right now, the Australian government has insufficient policies to meet its low emissions reduction target of 26-28% by 2030. Scientists say this target needs to be increased to protect the world’s most climate vulnerable populations, and for there to be any chance of saving the islands and the Great Barrier Reef.
Despite these facts, the Australian federal government acts as a powerful advocate for the fossil fuel industry, ignoring the existential threats the people in the islands face.
Call on the Prime Minister to commit the Australian government to doing everything it can to support the people of the Torres Strait with the resources they need to protect their island homes from climate change, and to mobilise Australia to pass laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with its commitments to a 1.5 degree target under the Paris Agreement.
The Torres Strait Islands are a beautiful and important part of Australia’s culture, and it’s our government’s responsibility to protect that – not continue supporting policies that put first nation culture and way of life at risk.
Prime Minister, I call on you to commit the Australian government to doing everything it can to support the people of the Torres Strait with the resources they need to protect the islands from climate change, and to mobilise Australia to pass laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with its commitments to a 1.5 degree target under the Paris Agreement.
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Sign the petition
Dear Prime Minister Albanese,
I call on the Australian Government to adopt the five demands of the Our Islands Our Home campaign, resource Torres Strait Islander peoples to protect their island homes from climate damage, and limit emissions to the 1.5 degree target under the Paris Agreement.
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Meet the #TorresStrait8
Zenadh Kes (the Torres Strait Islands & surrounding seas) is home to Traditional Owners who have lived with a deep connection to land, sea, sky and culture for over 60,000 years.
Right now, Torres Strait Islanders are on the frontlines of the climate crisis and urgent action is needed to ensure they can remain on their homelands. Advancing seas are already threatening homes, as well as damaging fresh water supplies, crops, burial grounds and sacred cultural sites.
Our Islands Our Home is a campaign led by Torres Strait Islanders to protect their island homes.
On 23 September 2022, the Torres Strait 8 made international legal history after the United Nations Human RIghts Committee found that the Australian Government is violating its human rights obligations to Torres Strait Islanders by failing to act on climate change.
The landmark decision obliges the Government to do whatever it takes to ensure the safe existence of the Torres Strait Islands. It also sets a precedent for Indigenous Peoples all around the world
Now, Torres Strait Islanders are building community support urging the Albanese Government to adopt the five demands of the campaign and protect Zenadh Kes from climate damage.