On 25 June 2021, during the United Nations Human Rights Council 47th session, the Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative (CERI) and Child Rights Connect delivered the Digital Art Gallery: Envision a Healthy Environment for Children to the Human Rights Council Permanent Missions. As part of the My Planet My Rights campaign, the gallery is a collection of art work created by children, young people and allies across the world envisioning a healthy environment for children and future generations. It comes with a clear call for the human right to a healthy environment to be internationally recognized, especially for children, by this September.
To the Permanent Missions to the United Nations,
Joining the #FridaysForFuture movement and ahead of the Human Rights Council 47 session Panel on Climate Change, we are pleased to share with you the Digital Art Gallery: Envision a Healthy Environment for Children!
1.7 million children lose their lives every year because of avoidable environmental impacts. This is a gross injustice. That is why children, young people, and allies from across the world have united in creating art envisioning a healthy environment for children. Together their pieces have formed a digital art gallery sending this message to governments: every child’s right to a healthy environment must be fulfilled.
“Let’s not pollute our environment, we want a clean and healthy world, to live happily.”
— Hermelinda, 17, Peru
This activity is part of the longstanding, widespread and urgent global call for the right to a healthy environment to be internationally recognized, especially for children, by this September.
On the occasion of the 2020 Annual Full-Day Meeting of the Human Rights Council on children’s rights and the environment, 40 civil society organizations working for the rights of the child expressed in a joint statement their support for the formal recognition of the human right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment by the UN.
During the Human Rights Council 46 session, we followed up by organizing a hugely successful Tweetstorm. People from around the world shared nearly 4,000 messages calling on the Human Rights Council to recognize the right to a healthy environment while drawing attention to the adverse effects of environmental harm on children everywhere! This included high-level figures like UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.
Meanwhile, several UN bodies, including the Human Rights Council, have taken steps to strengthen children’s rights in the environmental context. The Human Rights Council adopted a ground-breaking resolution on “Realizing Children’s Rights Through a Healthy Environment” in September 2020. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recently announced the development of a new General Comment on children’s rights, the environment and climate change. This week, the Heads of UN Entities launched the UN Joint Commitment to promote the right of the children, youth, and future generations to a healthy environment.
Passing a resolution to recognize the human right to a healthy environment at the Human Rights Council by this September, followed by a General Assembly resolution, would be a small but significant development to get closer to the ideal of a healthy environment for all as envisioned by the artists!
Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative and Child Rights Connect