Document Type : Original Article
Ph.D. Student of International Law, University of Qom, Iran
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Qom
Environmental crises affect children's rights to such an extent that they can be boldly referred to as children's rights crisis. There are a variety of environmental crises, including air, water and soil pollution, destruction of ecosystems and resources, toxic pollution, the spread of infectious diseases, ozone depletion, rising greenhouse gases and so on which adversely affect various aspects of children's basic rights including right to life, right to health, right to education, right to welfare and adequate living standards, right to healthy nutrition and their cultural rights. The present paper seeks to explore the rights of children in environmental crises from the perspective of international human rights law (IHRL). As much as all kinds of environmental pollution directly affect the life and health of children, it can also indirectly affect the social and cultural rights of children. The destruction of resources and ecosystems and infrastructure, including roads, farms, schools and homes, especially in poor areas, deprive children of access to education and cultural and social services, and sometimes force them to relocate. Children play the least role in creating environmental crisis but they suffer the most from its adverse effects and, as a consequence, they need to and must be supported. Therefore, states and large corporations, which have the largest share in creating environmental crises, also have the greatest responsibility. According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, states are obliged to respect and guarantee the rights of children, and violation of this obligation will lead to their international responsibility. Now, when environmental damage directly and/or indirectly violates the rights of children and governments are directly or/and indirectly involved in creating them, it makes sense to consider them committed to resolving environmental crises and guaranteeing children's rights. To this end, states should take effective action, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, preventing ecosystem degradation, preventing pollution and global warming, respecting the right of children to be heard, guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression and association, and involving them in environmental decisions.