Climate Change Inaction and Children’s Rights
Blog post by Prof. Elisa Fornalé and Tamara Köhler, edited by Nadini Dwivedi, in Jurist: Legal News & Commentary (2021)
On October 11, the UN Child Rights Committee (the Committee) ruled on a historic communications procedure brought forward by 16 children (plaintiffs) against Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey for failing to prevent and mitigate the consequences of climate change (Nos. 104-108/2019). Although the State parties have known of the effects of climate change for a long time and signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, they did not initiate adequate measures to prevent the current climate crisis from happening. It has so far proved difficult to face this essential challenge, and the negative impacts of climate change are already having a disproportionate effect on the enjoyment of many established children’s rights, in particular the right to life (Article 6), the right to health (Article 24), and the right to culture (Article 30). Furthermore, the plaintiffs complained that the carbon emissions from the mentioned States were not only affecting children on their respective territories but also beyond. The plaintiffs made use of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure under which an individual or a group of individuals within the jurisdiction of a State party can submit a “communication” against said State for violations of rights granted (amongst others) under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Even though the communication has been found inadmissible, the decision is significant for clarifying the human rights-climate change relation and the crucial dimension of procedural requirements.
You can read the full blog post by clicking on the link below.