As young people across the globe plan for the September climate strikes, the secretary general of Amnesty International has appealed to schools everywhere to allow their students to participate.
Kumi Naidoo compared the struggles of the Fridays for the Future movement to his own as a young organizer, and said he believes the climate cause is of such historic significance that students at more than 30,000 schools must be free to march.
“While watching these protests gather pace, I can’t help but be reminded of my own past,” he said. “Aged 15, while at school in my native South Africa, I organized a protest against the apartheid system.”
Naidoo was expelled from his Durban school and called it a devastating moment of overwhelming fear about how it might harm his future – but it was also a moment of motivation that energized him.
“I also had something that children of this generation do not have: the chance to imagine a future that is not overshadowed by the prospect of a climate emergency,” he said.
To that end, youth from 115 countries planning to stage climate protests on September 20 and 27 have an important message and mission. They also have the right and obligation to demand action.
“The climate emergency is the defining human rights issue for this generation of children. Its consequences will shape their lives in almost every way imaginable,” Naidoo said. “The failure of most governments to act in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence is arguably the biggest inter-generational human rights violation in history.”
To read the entire letter, check here.
Image: GroundUp/Ashraf Hendricks file