Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg and 15 other young activists filed a complaint on Monday at the United Nations against five countries for not doing their bit against global warming, AFP reported. The complaint said France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey had failed to uphold their promises under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was signed 30 years ago.
Sixteen-year-old Thunberg had accused world leaders, in her address at the Climate Action Summit in New York held earlier in the day, for failing to act on climate change. “I shouldn’t be up here,” she had said. “You come to us young people for hope. How dare you?” She also accused the world leaders of stealing her dreams and her childhood with their hollow promises.
Fifteen petitioners from 12 different countries, including India, between the ages of eight and 17, filed the complaint against the five countries for violating children’s rights by not taking sufficient action against climate change.
The other children who filed the complaint were Ellen-Anne from Sweden, Alexandria Villasenor and Carl Smith from the United States, Catarina Lorenzo from Brazil, Ridhima Pandey from India, Chiara Sacchi from Argentina, Deborah Adegbile from Nigeria, Ayakha Melithafa from South Africa, Raslene Joubali from Tunisia, Raina Ivanova from Germany, Iris Duquesne from France, Carlos Manuel from Palau, and Litokne Kabua, David Ackley III and Ranton Anjain from Marshall Islands.
Children are allowed to file a complaint through the “optional protocol”, which came into being in 2014, to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, if they believe their rights were being denied. The committee is supposed to look into the charges before making suggestions to the nations held accountable on measures that they could take to resolve the problem. The complainants are supported by legal firm Hausfeld LLP and environmental law organisation Earthjustice.
The petitioners accused the countries of neither making use of their own resources “to prevent the deadly and foreseeable consequences” of the crisis surrounding global warming nor working with other countries to tackle the situation, according to CNN.
They also criticised the countries for their pledges that the complainants claimed were inadequate as the measures announced would not help keep the global temperature down. The lives of children were already impacted by the climate change and their future is set to be endangered, the complaint said.
The complainants did not demand monetary compensation, but urged the nations to immediately work on their climate goals and work along with other nations to handle the crises, arising out of climate change. The five nations were chosen as they were among the 44 countries that had accepted the convention’s jurisdiction for complaints against them and are also the largest emmitters of greenhouse gases.
Pandey said she wanted a better future, according to her bio in Children vs Climate Crisis, a website that also hosts the petition against the five countries. “I want to save my future,” Pandey was quoted as saying. “I want to save our future. I want to save the future of all the children and all people of future generations.”
Last week, millions of young people took to streets around the world and asked politicians who were to attend the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on Monday to take the matter seriously.
The United Nations Climate Action Summit is an attempt to increase action by countries towards environmental protection and implement the Paris Agreement. The primary aim of the deal is to evoke a strong international response to the threat of climate change by restricting a global temperature rise.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spoke at the summit on Monday, announced several initiatives towards protecting the environment.
Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.