Today, international law firm Hausfeld filed a complaint on behalf of vegan climate activist Greta Thunberg and 15 other children from 12 countries against Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey to compel their governments to create binding agreements with other nations to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases. The complaint was announced during a press conference held at the UNICEF Headquarters in New York and filed on the grounds that these countries are violating children’s rights to life, health, and peace as protected under the 1989 United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child. Every child named in the complaint has witnessed the effects of climate change in their respective country, including Alexandria Villaseñor—who was inspired by Thunberg to lead climate protests in the United States—whose asthma was greatly exacerbated by the recent wildfires in Northern California. “Thirty years ago, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Today, the world’s children are holding the world accountable to that commitment,” UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Charlotte Petri Gornitzka said. “We fully support children exercising their rights and taking a stand. Climate change will impact every single one of them. It’s no wonder they are uniting to fight back.”

In conjunction with filing the complaint, Thunberg spoke to the UN General Assembly today during the Climate Action Summit in New York City. “My message is that we’ll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you,” Thunberg said, fighting back tears. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you.” 

“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you,” Thunberg continued. “We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”

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