Amnesty International stands in solidarity with school strike for climate

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LONDON, United Kingdom

Human Rights organization Amnesty International has warned governments that “its failures to tackle climate change could amount to the greatest inter-generational human rights violations in history,”

Amnesty plans to welcome a global day of school strikes against climate change planned for Friday 15 March by young people.

 “Amnesty International stands with all children and young people who are organizing and taking part in school strikes for climate action. This is an important social justice movement that is mobilizing thousands of people to peacefully call on governments to stop climate change,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Naidoo said that his unhappy that school children will have to sacrifice days of learning in school to demand that adults do the right thing.

He stressed that school children have discovered the consequences of the current shameful inaction both for themselves and future generations.

“This should be a moment for stark self-reflection by our political class.” He pointed out.

Naidoo further noted that while some misguided politicians are criticizing the strike, they should be asking governments why “they are getting away with playing truant on climate action,”

The human rights organization warned that the neglect of climate change will have far more devastating impacts on human rights and further cripple the already deteriorating situation of the most vulnerable, and disadvantaged people in communities.

In in reports, Amnesty noted that millions of people are already suffering from its catastrophic effects like prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa to devastating tropical storms sweeping across South-east Asia

It added that, Children are more vulnerable to climate-related impacts, due to their specific metabolism, physiology and developmental needs. Climate change also poses a risk to their mental health; children exposed to traumatic events such as natural disasters, exacerbated by climate change, can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders.

“Climate change is a human rights issue precisely because of the impact it is having on people. It compounds and magnifies existing inequalities, and it is children who will grow up to see its increasingly frightening effects. The fact that most governments have barely lifted a finger in response to our mutually assured destruction amounts to one of the greatest inter-generational human rights violations in history,” said Kumi Naidoo.

Millions of people are already suffering from its catastrophic effects – from prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa to devastating tropical storms sweeping across South-east Asia and the Caribbean.

During the summer months for the northern hemisphere in 2018, communities from the Arctic Circle to Greece, Japan, Pakistan and the USA experienced devastating heatwaves and wildfires that killed and injured hundreds of people.

“Children are often told they are ‘tomorrow’s leaders’. But if they wait until ‘tomorrow’ there may not be a future in which to lead. Young people are putting their leaders to shame with the passion and determination they are showing to fight this crucial battle now,” said Kumi Naidoo.

The latest pledges made by governments to mitigate climate change— which are yet to be implemented—are completely inadequate as they would lead to a catastrophic 3°C increase in average global temperatures over pre-industrial levels by 2100.

Amnesty International calls on states to scale up climate action substantially and to do so in a manner consistent with human rights. One of the crucial ways this can happen is if people most affected by climate change, such as children and young people, are engaged in efforts to address and mitigate climate change, whilst being provided with the necessary information and education to participate meaningfully in such discussions, and included in decision-making that directly affects them.

“Every day that we allow climate change to get worse ultimately makes it harder to stop and reverse its catastrophic effects. There is nothing stopping governments from doing everything in their power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the shortest possible time-frame. There is nothing stopping them from finding ways to halve emissions from their 2010 levels by 2030, and to net-zero by 2050, as climate scientists have called for,” said Kumi Naidoo.

“The only thing standing in the way of protecting humanity from climate change is the fact that our leaders lack the political will and have barely tried. Politicians can keep making excuses for their inaction, but nature does not negotiate. They must listen to young people and take steps today to stop climate change, because the alternative is unthinkable.”