UN CRC calls for government to ensure clean, sustainable environment for Children

The launch of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Committee’s General Comment 26 for the South Asian region was held today in Thimphu. General Comment 26 is on Children’s Rights and the Environment. It is the committee’s guidance on how children’s rights are impacted by environmental crisis and what governments must do to uphold these rights. The committee adopted the general comment in May last year. 

Education and Skills Development’s Minister Dimple Thapa with children and youth from various South Asian countries launched the general comment.

General Comment 26 talks about children’s right to life, survival and development, right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, freedom of expression, access to information and right to freedom from all forms of violence among others.

It also says that states must ensure a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment to respect, protect and fulfil children’s rights.

“When climate change becomes significantly disastrous, this has a direct impact on the lives of humanity. It has an impact on the socio-economic conditions and it makes poverty deeper. Children’s lives and opportunities are directly affected. Most importantly, the interest now is to make sure that governments take adequate preventive measures so that the environment in which we live, which the children will inherit in the future is not affected. So that is why children’s rights become important in this whole discourse on climate change and environment,” said Rinchen Chophel, the Vice Chair of the UN CRC Committee.

Parliamentarians and representatives from the International Labour Organisation, National Action for Coordinating Group and RENEW were present at the event.

20 youths and children from South Asian countries are engaged in interactive sessions to discuss emerging issues for children in the region.

The two-day event is organised by the South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) and is hosted by the National Commission for Women and Children.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child during a session in May last year, adopted its General Comment 26 on children’s rights and the environment, with a special focus on climate change.

A series of online and offline consultations took place at local, regional and global levels between December 2021 to February 2023 to inform the drafting of the General Comment. Children and adults from across the world were invited to share their views on what should be included in the authoritative guidance.

Deki Lhazom

Edited by Kipchu

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