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Jurist UN panel unable to rule on young activists’ climate case

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Dadparvar

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Nov 11, 2016
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The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child stated on Monday they were unable to rule on a complaint made by young activists to address the causal link between member states’ inaction on climate change and violations of children’s rights.

The complaint was first filed in 2019 by 15 activists aged 8-17 years old and argued that states including Turkey, Brazil and Germany knowingly failed to reduce carbon emissions, putting children at risk. Swedish activist Greta Thunberg joined the group that filed the complaint, which was decided by an 18-member panel at the UN in Geneva. The panel established a “sufficient causal link” between the states’ omissions and negative effects on children’s health. However, the panel concluded that it is up to the national courts to consider the cases.

The link between the states’ failure to tackle climate change and the resulting harms against children adds to the growing amount of litigation regarding human rights violations due to climate change. Just last week the United Nations Human Rights Council formally recognized the right to a sustainable environment as a fundamental human right. While some aspects of this complaint were successful and others were not, the committee commended the young activists’ “courage and determination.”

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