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COP28: demonstrators struggle to be heard | COP28 ;: climate summit in Dubai

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On the sidelines of COP28, demonstrators notably called for a ceasefire in Gaza. This banner reads “Apartheid is real”.

Radio-Canada

Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from written text.

Hundreds of people, from from the four corners of the world, united their voices on Saturday during a rare demonstration in Dubai, on the sidelines of COP28, to demand the end of fossil fuels and a ceasefire in Gaza.

Activists, bullhorns in hand, tried to make their voices heard by global decision-makers gathered in the United Arab Emirates for the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Waving environmental protection banners painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag, protesters shouted Climate Justice and Ceasefire Now.

The war between Israel and Hamas has made its way to the United Nations meeting, which has been going on since November 30, where negotiators from around the world are trying by next Tuesday to reach a new agreement to advance the fight against global warming.

It's the same fight, it's the same thing, it's colonialism, it's x27;is genocide, believes Mexican activist Isavela Lopez.

COP28: climate summit in Dubai

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COP28: climate summit in Dubai

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I stand in solidarity with all those who are oppressed, says in turn the American Claire Charlo, of the Alliance for a Just Transition.

I sympathize with everyone who is experiencing genocide right now, because it happened to us in the United States in 1492, she continues, in reference to the discovery and conquest of America.

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Protesters, closely monitored, notably called for an exit from fossil fuels.

Protests are rare in the United Arab Emirates because they must receive official permission from the state. UAE authorities frequently ban gatherings they deem disruptive.

However, the demonstration on the sidelines of COP28 was able to take place on Saturday without authorization from the Emirati authorities, because the activists gathered in the blue zone. This territory, where the negotiations and the main events of COP28 take place, is under UN control for the period of the international conference.

Although the UN authorizes demonstrations on the sidelines of COP28, they are subject to numerous restrictions. In doing so, the activists gathered on Saturday could not name states, people, leaders or companies as part of their activist actions on the COP website.

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Protesters held a banner reading “Ceasefire now”.

A pro-Palestinian protester said he had been forbidden to say from the river to the sea. This expression is used by pro-Palestinians, mobilizing to demand a single state on the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Some Jews hear this call as a clear demand for the destruction of Israel.

In addition, a small group of demonstrators protesting against the detention of activists by Emirati authorities – one from Egypt and two from the United Arab Emirates – was not allowed to hold up signs with their names written on them.

This is a shocking level of censorship in a space where the protection of fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression, assembly and association has been guaranteed, #x27;Associated Press Joey Shea, a researcher at Human Rights Watch specializing in the United Arab Emirates.

What's more, the local population of Dubai, not being allowed to cross the blue zone, was excluded from the demonstrations. A restriction that worries Sébastien Duyck, lawyer in human rights and environmental law.

This is extremely problematic. Without the voice of civil society, without the voice of these demonstrations, we are having discussions that are far too weak. It is the role of civil society to push forward, and to recall the importance of truly respecting science, even if it bothers stakeholders.

A quote from Sébastien Duyck, lawyer in human rights and environmental law

In parallel with these demonstrations, the negotiations at COP28 continued, and a draft final text contains options for withdrawing or reducing fossil fuels.

We must realize that it is an unprecedented and historic situation to have in the text of a COP a draft agreement on the exit from all fossil fuels, explains Romain Ioualalen, head of international policies at Oil Change International .

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COP28 takes place from November 30 to December 12, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Canadian Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, who plays a key role in the discussions, showed relative optimism , telling AFP that he was quite confident in having a mention of fossil fuels in the final text.

D' Elsewhere, protesters briefly staged a sit-in at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) booth on Saturday over a leaked letter calling on the organization's member states to reject any attempt to include a phased reduction of fossil fuels in any summit text.

With information from Elisa Serret, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse

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