Sherry Rehman, the feminist and ecologist minister who brings the voice of a wounded Pakistan

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As international aid is mobilized to rescue Pakistan, the victim of historic floods that have killed more than 1,300 people, Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman has relentlessly warned of North/South inequalities and holding companies responsible for them polluting more.

He is on the front line of the crisis that Pakistan is going through. Omnipresent in the international media, the Minister of Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, has become in recent days the spokesperson for the countries most vulnerable to climate change.

“The priority is to feed, house and care for millions of climate refugees,” the senator and former ambassador to Washington explained on Wednesday in an interview with the BBC.

As many as 33 million people were affected by major floods caused by the heavy monsoon rains that came after several months of drought.

If today’s emergency is humanitarian, Sherry Rehman but rarely misses an opportunity to remember another emergency: the climate and its concrete consequences for the poorest countries on the planet.

“Climate change knows no boundaries. The time of accountability has come. What we are experiencing is the new normal,” he warned in a press conference.

Political picture of Pakistan

Appointed Climate Change Minister in April by former Prime Minister Imran Khan, Sherry Rehman is a well-known face in Pakistani political life. A member of the civilian government that replaced the military regime of Pervez Musharraf, this figure in the Pakistani People’s Party (PPP) was the spokesman for Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister who was assassinated in 2007.

In 2010, he gained international fame despite himself by campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty from the blasphemy law, after the Asia Bibi affair, this Christian was sentenced to death for a alleged offense against the prophet Muhammad. For this fight, Sherry Rehman was threatened with death and had to live under constant police protection.

>> To see : Interview with Asia Bibi “I forgive everyone who hurt me”

Committed to fighting honor killings, Sherry Rehman continues to actively campaign for women’s rights. She recently published “Womensplaining”, a collective work on the history of women’s activism in Pakistan.

COP27 to be seen

If the feminist fight is never far away, it is now climate issues that monopolize the new minister. “The big polluters who are trying to green their emissions can no longer be blind and the companies whose profits exceed the GDP of many countries must accept their responsibilities”, explained the former journalist in an interview with the British daily The Guardian.

Sherry Rehman intends to raise the issue at the next United Nations conference on climate change, COP27, which will take place in November in the city of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. According to him, “the deal that was concluded between North and South did not work”.

In 2009, the countries of the North promised to increase their climate aid to the South to 100 billion per year from 2020. But this promise has still not been fulfilled.

>> Also read: Underwater, is Pakistan at risk of bankruptcy like Sri Lanka?

While the poorest countries are the most exposed to climate change, they represent only a marginal part of global CO2 emissions.2. According to a study by the NGO Germanwatch, Pakistan is in the eighth position among the countries most threatened by extreme weather events.

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