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Browsing by Author "Oivo, Katariina"

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  • Oivo, Katariina (2023)
    Mounting environmental challenges including climate change call for accelerated global action, but the response provided within international frameworks has thus far remained inadequate. In this context, can the perspectives of human rights law and climate change be usefully combined? This thesis studies the prospects of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as the most widely ratified global human rights treaty. It explores whether it can be argued that obligations in relation to environmental and climate action follow from the Convention and examines how current discourses on children’s rights and climate change are intersecting. These questions are approached by assessing the wording and aim of the UNCRC text and its interpretation by the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) through the case Sacchi et al v Argentina et al and a draft of the upcoming General comment on children's rights, the environment and climate change. The analysis is complemented by an overview of practitioner discourses on the topic, including policy and advocacy documents, climate litigation and multilateral resolutions. In this study, law as a concept is understood as a living institution, consisting not only of the specific legislation but also its application in legal and social contexts. The results show that although the UNCRC includes strikingly few references to the environment, several of the rights enshrined in the Convention are directly affected by environmental threats, notably the impacts of climate change. Considering this, the CRC has indicated that state parties have environmental and climate-related obligations in order to comply with the UNCRC. A holistic reading of human rights instruments and obligations under international environmental law comes across as a key point. Furthermore, it seems that the UNCRC is being deployed in expert narratives to urge climate action to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of children, despite the Convention’s substantive limitations in this regard and its interpretation by the CRC being ‘work in progress’. It is concluded that the UNCRC has potential to foster actions to protect children and humanity from harm related to climate change. A holistic interpretation of the Convention is required to safeguard child rights in the context of the escalating planetary crisis. Acknowledging these interlinkages can serve both the child rights and the environmental and climate policy fields.