Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Principal of Mansfield College

introduces Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International and Chair of the civil society alliance ‘Global Campaign for Climate Action’ (GCCA)

Kumi Naidoo's talk will address the direct link between human rights and environmental protection.

For too long, despite the close relationship between environmental destruction and human suffering, human rights violations and environmental problems have been regarded as unrelated.  Yet in reality, the current development paradigm has resulted in deepening human rights abuses, inequalities and environmental degradation. Too often, the poorest and most disenfranchised communities are worst affected.  Climate change, as the Human Rights Council has recognised, violates human rights. Kumi Naidoo will argue that it is possible to deliver the human right to development for all, whilst taking the necessary action to halt climate change. It requires an energy revolution; forest policies that deliver zero deforestation; and land rights for the poor.   

Born in South Africa, KUMI NAIDOO became involved in the country’s liberation struggle at the age of 15. In 1986 he was charged with violating the emergency regulations and was forced underground for almost a year before fleeing to exile. During this time he was a Rhodes Scholar and later earned a doctorate in political sociology. After Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990, Naidoo returned to South Africa to work on the legalization of the African National Congress. During the democratic elections in 1994 he directed the training of all electoral staff in the country and was one of the official spokespersons of the Independent Electoral Commission.