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Climate change victims to testify in landmark rights case

Over 60 delegations have gathered in Barbados for the 166th regular session of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, where its first-ever public inquiry into the link between climate change and human rights will be conducted.

A panel of judges will hear this week from – among many others – Julian Medina, a Colombian fisherman who will argue that his livelihood and those of many like him are being adversely affected by climate change.

The inquiry has been initiated by Colombia and Chile, whose governments are asking the hearing to define states' legal responsibility to combat climate change and prevent it from violating people's human rights, amid a proliferation of droughts, floods, landslides, and fires. The two countries are seeking clarity on, among many other issues, children’s and women’s rights, loss and damage, and the UN principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

Chile and Colombia are far from the only countries even in Latin America experiencing overlapping impacts from the climate crisis.

Honduran-German photojournalist Fritz Pinnow embarked on a road trip for The New Humanitarian towards the end of 2023 to report on the impact of climate change in the region.

From drought in the Dry Corridor to US-bound migration, from the climate-linked spread of tropical diseases to fragile coastal communities, from forest fire survivors to flood victims, Pinnow explored all the different intertwined impacts, gathering photos, videos, and testimonies from many of those affected. Read his Snapshots series.

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