Climate change is a human rights issue: Commissioner supports children on #ClimateStrike

19 September 2019

Young human rights defenders across Scotland are preparing to join action on the global climate crisis, and they have the support of Children and Young People’s Commissioner Bruce Adamson.

He’s written to Education Leaders urging them to support children and young people who go on climate strike tomorrow.

And he’s been clear that the strikers will be acting as human rights defenders when they demand those in power take action.

A right to peaceful protest without reprisal

As with past climate strikes, several schools will allow their pupils to exercise the right to freedom of association by going on peaceful protest.

However, at the Commissioner’s office we’ve been concerned to hear about pupils being threatened with detention or other punishments for going on climate strike.

The Commissioner has urged education leaders to reject this approach. Human rights defenders shouldn’t face reprisals for peaceful protest— no matter what age they are.

Earlier this year, a group of young human rights defenders working with our office laid a report before Parliament entitled Promote, Protect, Defend.

Among the recommendations to public bodies it makes are:

  • that the role of children as human rights defenders should be publicly recognised,
  • that education around human rights and human rights defenders should be embedded in children and young people’s learning, and
  • that children human rights defenders who engage in activism and peaceful protest shouldn’t be punished.

Young people who take peaceful and powerful actions shouldn’t be silenced, discouraged or punished.

They should be respected in the same way that adults are when they stand up for the human rights of us all.

Learn more about the young human rights defenders’ recommendations to those in power.

Read the Commissioner’s letter to education leaders.