Growing Up in a World on Fire. Children Take Centre-Stage in the Strategic Climate Litigation Movement

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Capretti, André
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Global Campus of Human Rights
The climate crisis is an existential threat to humanity, the greatest human rights issue of our time, and a glaring intergenerational injustice. Faced with the urgent need to take action, political leaders around the world have largely fallen short. Strategic litigation has thus gained prominence as a valuable tool for realising human rights and inciting governmental action in the fight against climate change. Children in particular have proven to be powerful actors in advocating for climate justice in the streets and, increasingly, in the courtroom. Children and youth are especially motivated to address climate change, as it is a phenomenon that disproportionately impacts them and will continue to have grave and long-lasting consequences for their futures. Consequently, a new trend has emerged wherein strategic litigation is being used to protect and uphold the rights of children in the climate crisis. However, this occurs in a context where children experience important obstacles in accessing justice and obtaining effective remedies for human rights violations. This work therefore aims to understand how strategic litigation at different levels, aimed at protecting the rights of children in the context of the climate crisis, can uphold equality rights and ensure access to justice. By analysing case studies at the international (United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child), regional (European Court of Human Rights), and domestic (Canada) levels, this piece identifies and critically examines some of the challenges and opportunities faced by young climate litigants. Key words: children’s rights; climate change; strategic litigation; access to justice.
Global Campus - Europe.
EMA - European Master's Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation, Global Campus of Human Rights Headquarters.
Second semester University: Université de Montpellier.
children's rights, children rights, climatic changes, justice, case law