Geneva 23 September : UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has accepted the proposal submitted by Terre des Hommes to focus the Day of General Discussion 2016 on “The right of the child to a healthy environment”.

The days of general discussion are held on a biennial basis and brings together international experts with children and  youth, this year, among them, beneficiaries of  Terre des Hommes projects. During this rally the participants deal with important aspects of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child or related themes and often they come up recommendations, which States need to consider when putting Children’s rights policy into practice.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted in 1989 by the U.N. General Assembly. At that time, the human rights dimension of climate change, over-exploitation of natural resources,or air pollution, wasn’t the main preoccupation. This has changed:  environmental problems today are considered an issue of survival and a central challenge for the human rights in the 21st century. Children are particularly concerned, because they are especially vulnerable to environmental toxins and  their future is in danger by today the destruction of nature.

Children are arguably the most vulnerable to toxics and pollution. For years, they are completely defenseless. They are impacted in ways in which adults are not.

Terre des Hommes therefore challenges policy makers to strengthen the right to a healthy environment. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva is an important place where world-wide monitoring bodies for children’s rights play a crucial role in the implementation and interpretation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Terre des Hommes, recognized expert on this issue,  will address this problem together with John Knox, the UN Special Rapporteur on  Human Rights and the Environment,

Children campaigning for their rights

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Caleb, Ritu and Yina actively campaign for environmental protection with the support of Terre des Hommes. The three youngsters from India, Zambia and Colombia will take part to the Day of General Discussion and speak out as representatives for the children of their countries. Even if they are coming from different countries and they are struggling with very different environmental problems, they all pursue the same goal: a clean environment for all children.

In Zambia, 14-year-old Caleb organises actions to protect the inhabitants of Kabwe from lead poisoning produced by the mining industry; in the capital of India, New Delhi,  Ritu, 15 year old, fights against the ubiquitous air pollution. Yina, from the coal mining community of El Hatillo in the north of Colombia, at age of 16,  is committed for a resettlement of her village.

Introductory Statement: UN CRC Day of General Discussion on Children’s Rights and the Environment by Ignacio Packer, Secreatary General of Terre des Hommes International Federation.

Live video available after the broadcast :