Kayly Ober Testifies at Tom Lantos Hearing on Climate Change and Human Rights

August 2, 2022

Climate change, meaning long-term shifts in weather patterns observed and documented over several decades, has emerged as a major international policy concern even as debate over its causes persists. The question of how to manage its adverse effects intersects with human rights concerns, in particular the concern that the impacts of climate change will exacerbate existing inequalities. The U.N. Human Rights Council has adopted a number of resolutions on climate change and human rights, most recently Resolution 47/24 of July 2021, that call on states to adopt comprehensive approaches to climate change consistent with their human rights obligations, and in particular to support the resilience and adaptive capacities of people in vulnerable situations. Last October, the U.N. Human Rights Council authorized a new Special Rapporteur on climate change who plans to issue guidelines for incorporating human rights considerations in adaptation strategies in time for the upcoming 27th session of the U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) in November.

Refugees international’s Kayly Ober joined witnesses to discuss several contexts in which climate change may exacerbate the situations of vulnerable populations, including as a driver of armed conflict, as a factor in migration and displacement, as both a risk and an opportunity for indigenous populations, and through increasing threats and attacks against environmental defenders, and share recommendations based on their work. 

Hosted by

James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC

Christopher H. Smith
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC

Opening Remarks


Panel I          

  • Darío José Mejía Montalvo, Chair, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Panel II

Submitted for the Record

Banner Photo Caption: A view of a submerged Roberts Camp in Nakuru, Rift Valley, Kenya after the unprecedented rise of water levels in Lake Baringo. Photo by James Wakibia/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.