WASHINGTON – It is with deep concern that Climate Action Network (CAN) and its partners have learnt that Polish authorities denied entry and/or deported at least 12 members of civil society groups due to attend the United Nations climate talks in Poland.
The deportations follow the enactment of national legislation earlier this year passed by the Polish Government in relation to the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC CoP24) currently underway in the southern city of Katowice, from 2 – 14 December 2018. Several United Nations human rights experts have publicly questioned the compatibility of the law with international human rights standards.
“The fact that these are not isolated instances are extremely worrying and we view the actions by the Polish border authorities in an extremely serious light,” said Dr. Stephan Singer, Interim Executive Focal Point at Climate Action Network (CAN). CAN is a network comprising of more than 1,300 organisations working in over 120 countries. Under its network CAN convenes the largest share of environmental non-governmental organisations under the UN climate convention.
“The full and effective participation by civil society is entrenched in the Convention and, in fact, is imperative in our efforts to urgently transition to a new climate regime.”
Several civil society organisations have registered strong objection to the incidents that occured since the beginning of the UN conference.
“We strongly condemn the denial of entry and deportation of colleagues who have not been allowed into Poland in order to take part in COP24. From what we understand the reasons for refusing entry are due to allegations that they are a ‘threat to national security.’ These staff members and volunteers are individuals committed to tackling the climate crisis the world faces through campaigning for sustainable solutions,” said May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org.
“It is the belief of all of us at 350.org, and our partners, that the biggest threat that we face to our international and national security is that of not tackling the climate crisis and taking the urgent and necessary action to leave fossil fuels in the ground now. This is underscored in the recent IPCC Special Report on 1.5C Global Warming. The voices of those denied entry to COP24 are essential to the unfolding climate talks and it is unacceptable that their presence at the climate talks should be impeded in this way. Ongoing restrictions on civil society will not stop a resilient climate movement”