2020 Annual Day on the Rights of the Child: realising the rights of the child through a healthy environment

Date: 10th July 2020
Category: Disability, Basic Health and Welfare, Civil Rights and Freedoms, Education, Leisure and Cultural Activities

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The UN Human Rights Council held its Annual Day on the Rights of the Child on 1st July 2020. For the first time, children human rights defenders spoke in both panels to raise children’s voice and perspectives on the environment.

The morning panel set the scene for how a healthy environment is a child rights concern and the afternoon panel called States, international organisation and civil society organisations to make commitments for the realisation of children’s rights through a healthy environment. 

The meetings involved exchanging expertise and experiences from States, United Nations entities, civil society organisations, environmental actors, national human rights institutions and children’s ombudspersons and children, to promote an understanding of and good practices to address the impacts of environmental harm on children and their rights. Involving a range of actors with diverse expertise and experiences aimed to bridge the gaps between children’s rights to a healthy, sustainable environment and relevant international legal frameworks.

The panel also provided concrete suggestions on how States, the international community and the private sector can be held accountable and fulfil their obligations to realise and adopt a child’s rights approach to environmental and climate-related initiatives.  

The morning panel had the following speakers:

  • Clarence Nelson, Member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to discuss children’s rights to a healthy environment and ensuring accountability.
  • Maria Neira, Director - Environment, Climate Change and Health, World Health Organisation to discuss children’s environmental health and the effect of environmental degradation on children.
  • Junior, Child environmental human rights defender to talk about children’s environmental rights in the perspective of a young person.

The afternoon panel, included:

  • David Boyd, Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, who discussed how the time for action to recognise children's right to live in a safe, clean healthy and sustainable environment is now.
  • Sanjay Wijesekera, Director of Programmes, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) who talked about empowering children to realise their rights through a healthy environment.
  • Carmen Juliana, Child environmental human rights defender (Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative) who expressed children’s views and concerns on their rights and the environment.

For more information check out Child Rights Connect’s dedicated webpage here.