Amnesty International: Students Have a Right to Strike

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An open letter from Amnesty International Secretary General Kumi Naidoo is being sent to school principals around New Zealand asking that students be supported in their right to freedom of expression and assembly.

As part of the Fridays for Future movement, youth activists from 115 countries plan to stage climate protests from September 20-27th (New Zealand is planned for the 27th), there are more than 2,400 events planned in 1,000 cities around the world.

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand Executive Director Meg de Ronde says young people should be supported in having autonomy over a brighter future.

“Young people want, need and deserve a future that is not only modern, but dignified and humane too. Possible options like clean energy, sustainable transport, reliable food… these things can only truly happen with social justice, equality and the ability for people to have direction over their lives. That starts now. Young people must be able to choose to use their voices and build the future they will inhabit.”

She says it’s taken a generation of young people to remind adults of the importance of science and of the importance of coming together to face what may seem like an insurmountable problem.

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“They have shown incredible hope and resilience despite the alarming science so the very least we can do is support them to continue pushing for this change, they know the targets that governments need to stick to, they know what they’re doing and it’s their future.”

Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Kumi Naidoo’s personal letter will go to more than 27,000 schools around the world today including more than 500 schools in New Zealand.

Excerpts from the open letter:

“Children should not be punished for speaking out about the great injustices of our age. In fact, when it has fallen on young people to show the leadership that many adults who hold great positions of power have failed to, it is not young people’s behaviour we should be questioning. It is ours.”

“The failure of most governments to act in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence is arguably the biggest inter-generational human rights violation in history.”

“The right to a liveable planet is like Article Zero of Human Rights. It is a birthright that sadly, children today have been forced to assert.”