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Open Access Universal Human Rights? Breaking the Institutional Barriers Facing Climate-Vulnerable Small-Island Developing States

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Universal Human Rights? Breaking the Institutional Barriers Facing Climate-Vulnerable Small-Island Developing States

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There is a need to overcome the dichotomy in international responses to climate change between, on the one hand, a recognition of the significant threat posed by climate impacts for the continued enjoyment of fundamental rights, and, on the other, the lack of provision made for strengthening the legal protections available to climate-vulnerable states. The question of access to human-rights mechanisms currently looms large as a limitation on legal action within, or by, Small-Island Developing States. This article, drawing on empirical research conducted in Vanuatu and Fiji, examines the entrenched institutional barriers to engagement with the core international human rights treaties in the South Pacific. A number of steps are proposed to guide action by the international community, through funding strategies, integrated vulnerability assessments, and targeted in-country capacity building, in order to enable more effective engagement with rights mechanisms and offer greater recourse to justice.

Affiliations: 1: PhD Candidate and Tutor, University of Bristol Law School, alice.venn@bristol.ac.uk

10.1163/18786561-00704005
/content/journals/10.1163/18786561-00704005
dcterms_title,pub_keyword,dcterms_description,pub_author
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There is a need to overcome the dichotomy in international responses to climate change between, on the one hand, a recognition of the significant threat posed by climate impacts for the continued enjoyment of fundamental rights, and, on the other, the lack of provision made for strengthening the legal protections available to climate-vulnerable states. The question of access to human-rights mechanisms currently looms large as a limitation on legal action within, or by, Small-Island Developing States. This article, drawing on empirical research conducted in Vanuatu and Fiji, examines the entrenched institutional barriers to engagement with the core international human rights treaties in the South Pacific. A number of steps are proposed to guide action by the international community, through funding strategies, integrated vulnerability assessments, and targeted in-country capacity building, in order to enable more effective engagement with rights mechanisms and offer greater recourse to justice.

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/content/journals/10.1163/18786561-00704005
2017-11-09
2018-06-20

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