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Publication Young People and Climate Action

Young people are spearheading the global movement for action on the climate crisis. With organisations such as Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion being established with youth at the helm, it’s clear that addressing global greenhouse gas emissions is on the agenda, particularly for those aged 30 or younger. After all, young populations and future generations who have yet to be born will have to suffer the adverse consequences of climate disaster longer than anyone else alive on the planet today.

Yet, many of the demands of these environmental defenders are met with stigmatisation and criminalisation (Council of Europe), and are often confronted with repressive action such as arrest, detention and physical assault resulting in injuries by police and members of the public (The Guardian). In several European countries, non-violent climate protesters have been imprisoned (EuroNews; Reuters; AP News), and in Australia and the UK some have even been handed non-parole periods with their sentencing (ABC News; BBC News).

The disproportionate response to climate activists infringes on the human right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, which is a cornerstone of democracy. It is for this reason that the Council of Europe youth sector decided to focus on ensuring that the voice of climate activists can be heard, and heard without unwarranted repercussions.

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Latest update: 05.03.2024