Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

16 Youth Activists File Suit Claiming Climate Crisis Violates Children’s Rights

Politics
Activist Alexandria Villaseñor attends a press conference where 16 children from across the world, present their official human rights complaint on the climate crisis to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child at the UNICEF Building on Sept. 23 in NYC. KENA BETANCUR / AFP / Getty Images

Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg and 15 other young people filed a potentially groundbreaking complaint Monday that could turn the climate crisis into a children's rights issue, Earther reported.


The young people are suing Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey for violating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The 1989 convention is the most-signed human rights treaty in the world and protects children's rights to life, health and peace.

"I'm doing this because world leaders are failing to protect the rights of the child by continuing to ignore the climate and ecological crisis," Thunberg said as she announced the suit, ABC News reported.

The five countries named in the suit were chosen because they are the top five emitters that have signed the convention, Thunberg explained on Twitter.

The suit comes three days after four million took to the streets in the largest youth-led climate protest in history. But, for the movement's young organizers, their protests have so far not led to the changes needed to meaningfully limit climate change.

"I decided to be part of this case because after students have been striking we still haven't gotten the sufficient action we need," Alexandria Villaseñor, one of the plaintiffs and a leader of the U.S. climate strike movement, told Earther. "So we are going to the next step."

Villaseñor was motivated to strike when a cloud of smoke from 2018's Camp Fire forced her to end a family visit to Davis, California early.

The other plaintiffs have also been directly impacted by the climate crisis.

Seventeen-year-old Carl Smith, a member of the indigenous Yupiaq tribe in Alaska, has witnessed the dramatic alteration of his home.

"It got so hot this summer that fish started floating in the river, dead," Smith told ABC News. "It is hard to see because it's the way I live, it's my culture and I don't want to see it die in my lifetime."

Four of the plaintiffs come from low-lying islands threatened by sea level rise.

"Sometimes in my mind I just see Ebeye sinking and a lot of people drowning," Ranton Anjain, one of three plaintiffs from the Marshall Islands, said in a statement reported by Earther.

Ebeye is only 80 acres, and much of its population of 15,000 is under the age of 18.

Another island plaintiff is 17-year-old Carlos Manual of Palau.

"Our homes are being swallowed by the ocean, the places where memories are made," Manual said at a press conference. "I am standing in front of you because I care about my generation."

The other plaintiffs are:

  1. Litokne Kabua, Marshall Islands
  2. David Ackley III, Marshall Islands
  3. Ridhima Pandey, India
  4. Ayakha Melithafa, South Africa
  5. Deborah Adegbile, Nigeria
  6. Raslene Joubali, Tunisia
  7. Raina Ivanova, Germany
  8. Iris Duquesne, France
  9. Ellen-Anne, Sweden
  10. Catarina Lorenzo, Brazil
  11. Chiara Sacchi, Argentina

The five countries named in the suit are among 44 who have agreed to have complaints brought against them under the convention, CNN explained. Instead of financial compensation, the young plaintiffs want the countries to increase their climate commitments and work with other countries to address the crisis.

The suit will be heard by a committee of 18 children's rights experts. If it is successful, the five countries will either have to take greater measures to fight climate change or withdraw from the treaty, Earther explained.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Looking across the Houston Ship Canal at the ExxonMobil Refinery, Baytown, Texas. Roy Luck, CC BY 2.0

By Nick Cunningham

A growing number of refineries around the world are either curtailing operations or shutting down entirely as the oil market collapses.

Read More Show Less
Traffic moves across the Brooklyn Bridge on Aug. 2, 2018 in New York City. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

The Trump administration is expected to unveil its final replacement of Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks Tuesday in a move likely to pump nearly a billion more tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the lifetime of those less-efficient vehicles.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
U.S. President Donald Trump listens as Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks in the Rose Garden for the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on March 29 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

Just over a month after proclaiming that the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. would soon "be down to close to zero," President Donald Trump said during a press briefing on the White House lawn Sunday that limiting U.S. deaths from the pandemic to between 100,000 and 200,000 people would mean his administration and the country as a whole did "a very good job."

Read More Show Less
Dicamba is having a devastating impact in Arkansas and neighboring states. A farmer in Mississippi County, Arkansas looks at rows of soybean plants affected by dicamba. The Washington Post / Getty Images

Documents unearthed in a lawsuit brought by a Missouri farmer who claimed that Monsanto and German chemical maker BASF's dicamba herbicide ruined his peach orchard revealed that the two companies knew their new agricultural seed and chemical system would likely damage many U.S. farms, according to documents seen by The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and other leaders speak to the press on March 28, 2020 in Seattle. Karen Ducey / Getty Images

Washington State has seen a slowdown in the infection rate of the novel coronavirus, for now, suggesting that early containment strategies have been effective, according to the Seattle NBC News affiliate.

Read More Show Less