After international street protests demanding action on climate change, Greta Thunberg and 15 other young activists on Monday registered a complaint at the UN against five countries for not doing enough to ward off global warming.
The complaint, filed with the 16-year-old Swedish activist and 15 additional petitioners from 12 different countries and aged between eight and 17, accused the five states of violating children’s rights by failing to take adequate and timely actions against climate change.
It had been registered following Thunberg delivered a searing attack on world leaders for their slow reaction to climate change in a special session kicking off the UN General Assembly in New York.
Every member of the United Nations except the USA, has ratified the convention to safeguard the health and rights of all children.
Monday’s complaint focuses on a little-known”optional protocol” which came into effect in 2014 that makes it possible for children to submit a complaint to the Committee on the Rights of the Child if they believe that their rights are being denied.
The Committee is then meant to inquire into the charges before making recommendations to the countries concerned on how they can correct the issue.
The 16 young folks were backed by the legal firm Hausfeld LLP and Earthjustice, an environmental law group.
Lawyer Michael Hausfeld said that while the Committee’s recommendations aren’t legally binding, the 44 states that ratified the protocol vowed to honour them. He said he expected that the proposals could be reached in the coming 12 months.
The five nations named in the complaint are one of the 44 that ratified the protocol and will also be one of the very best global polluters, as well as being members of the G20 group of major international markets.
The biggest polluters in the world — the United States, China and India — did not ratify the protocol.
Countries like France and Germany might have recently started working to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, but also have played a considerable role in polluting the atmosphere, the law firm argued.