Children and young people file landmark climate change complaint to UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Date: 7th October 2019
Category: Optional protocol on a communications procedure


The official complaint, submitted by sixteen child petitioners, protests lack of government action to address the climate crisis.

The petitioners, aged between 8 and 17, allege that governments’ failures to tackle the climate crisis constitutes a violation of children’s human rights. The complaint addresses five countries - Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey. It calls on the UN Committee to instruct these countries to take action aimed at protecting children from the devastating impacts of climate change.

Announced at a press conference hosted at UNICEF Headquarters in New York, this complaint aims to inspire the urgent action needed to curb global warming and mitigate the impact of the climate crisis.

The complaint was filed through the Third Optional Protocol to the UNCRC on a Communications Procedure.

What is the Third Optional Protocol?

The Third Optional Protocol to the UNCRC sets out an international complaints procedure for children’s rights violations. It entered into force in April 2014, allowing children from countries that have ratified the Optional Protocol to bring complaints about violations of their rights directly to the UN Committee if they have not found a solution at the national level.

The legal instrument has been ratified by 44 countries. The UK (including Scotland) has not yet signed up to this protocol.