ZELA Press Statement: #MyPlanetMyRights Campaign

terre des hommes and its Zimbabwean partners launch an ambitious global campaign calling on governments to recognize children’s right to a healthy environment “Even when these children are born and before they can say their first word, they are denied their rights to a dignified life” – Baskut Tuncak, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Toxics

Today the child rights organization terre des hommes and its Zimbabwean partners

namely Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, Regional Network of Children and Young People Trust, Citizen Child, Coalition Against Child Labour in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children, Childline Zimbabwe, Scripture Union Zimbabwe, Real Opportunities for Transformation Support, Musasa, Community Arts Project are joining others organisations across the world in launching an international campaign “MY PLANET – MY RIGHTS” urging governments to recognize children’s right to a healthy environment through the adoption of a resolution on the human right to a healthy environment and an Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

As part of the campaign, terre des hommes and the Zimbabwean partners are initiating a global online petition which will be delivered to the UN Secretary General and the Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child during the General Assembly in 2021 to prompt Member States to take action. Youth-led projects will take place in nearly 40 countries to promote the petition and the campaign’s global call. In Zimbabwe, in addition to call for the government to support the UN resolution on the human right to a healthy environment and an Optional protocol to the UNCRC; youth led activities will take place nationwide to call upon the government to promote children’s environmental rights as envisioned by section 73 of the Constitution with extractives, waste management and climate change being the main thematic areas.

terre des hommes is also publishing a report “Stop the silent pandemic – Every child has the right to develop in a non-toxic environment” to draw attention to the adverse effects of environmental pollution on children’s rights worldwide. The report calls on governments and the international community to recognize children’s right to a healthy environment and urges the adoption of eight key policy recommendations.”Even when these children

are born and before they can say their first word, they are denied their rights to a dignified life,” said Baskut Tuncak, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Toxics and author of the terre des hommes study. At the local level, the campaign will be launched on various media platforms including Zoom, various social media sites (Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp), Radio and national television with the aim to raise awareness on the campaign and call upon like-minded organisations and youths to join themovement advocating for a better world for children and future generations during this decade of action. This ambitious call to action comes at a moment where the lives of children are at critical risk.

Environmental damage, which is a pressing human rights issue and considered as one of the main drivers of COVID-19, is f orcing millions of children to leave their homes, miss out on school and lose their lives as Cyclone Idai is an indicator in Zimbabwe. As the world

approaches an irreversible ecological tipping point, significantly more lives will be threatened with children being the most vulnerable despite the fact that they contribute less to environmental damage. At the same time, there is a window of opportunity for large-scale change. Children and young people continue to speak up for climate action and environmental justice in one of the largest global social movements in history.

Governments working on their COVID-19 recovery plans have an opportunity to put children at the center of building a more sustainable future. In September, several governments publicly committed to leading the recognition of the human right to a healthy environment and this month the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on children’s rights and the environment. “Children experience how the destruction of world climate and ecosystems ruins their future chances. We can no longer tolerate this. That is why we want our

campaign to ensure that the right of children to a healthy environment is enshrined in an additional protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child”, said Birte Kötter, spokeswoman of the board of Terre des Hommes.”This would oblige all signatory states to focus their environmental policies more strongly on the welfare and involvement of the child. This would be a milestone for the life chances of future generations.”

Join the movement by signing the petition http://www.my-planet-my-rights.org #MyPlanetMyRights 

Source: Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA)

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