Three African students are among 15 across the globe who have joined with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in filing a legal complaint with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Raslene Joubali, 17, of Tunisia; Deborah Adegbile, 12, of Nigeria; and Ayakha Melithafa, also 17, from South Africa, joined students from Europe, South America, India and island nations in the petition. All of the students are between the ages of eight and 17.
“Their petition shows how five regional leaders and G20 members – respondents Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey – have known about the risks of climate change for decades,” said Hausfeld, the legal firm handling the complaint, in a statement.
“Despite that knowledge, they are failing to curb emissions, while continuing to promote fossil fuels. The climate crisis was caused and is being perpetuated by the actions and inactions of all states, but without the leadership of the respondents, the global effort to solve the climate crisis cannot succeed.”
Hausfeld, along with environmental law NGO Earthjustice, said they targeted the most-polluting nations among those who are party to a complaint mechanism of the UN committee. It is made up of 18 child rights experts who will determine if the youth complaint is admissible for further investigation.
The petition calls on states to take binding and immediate international action to limit global warming. It draws on expert analysis and personal narrative to demonstrate the effects of climate change, and how consequences “have violated and will violate each petitioner’s human rights by threatening their physical survival, impairing their physical and psychological development, and harming their health.”
A copy of the petition is available here.