School Strike for Climate

September 18, 2019

Leading human rights lawyers have spoken out in support of students’ right to attend Friday’s climate change strikes.

 Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) President Kerry Weste said, “ALHR stands with children and young people around Australia as they exercise their internationally-recognised human rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and to be heard.”

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) explicitly establishes that all children have a right to be heard in all matters affecting them, as well as rights to freedom of expression, freedom of thought, freedom of association and peaceful assembly.  Indeed, respect for the views of children is one of the four core principles of the CRC and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has emphasised a presumption in favour of children enjoying protest rights on an equal basis with adults.”

“Historically, protests have often inspired positive social change and the advancement of human rights. Protests encourage the development of an engaged and informed citizenry and strengthen representative democracy by enabling direct participation in public affairs.”

Ms Weste said, “A healthy, clean, sustainable environment is a pre-requisite for the enjoyment of human rights. There can be no doubt that climate change is a real and immediate threat to the human rights of all Australians. This Friday children will be letting Governments know how they feel about an issue that will deeply affect their lives and those of the families they will grow up to have. All sides of politics should respect their democratic and internationally recognised right to do so.”

ALHR calls on the Australian Government to take urgent policy action designed to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, consistent with the Paris Agreement, and live up to its obligations to ensure a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment in order to respect, protect and fulfil Australia’s international human rights obligations.

Contact: Matt Mitchell, ALHR media manager 0431 980 365.