Climate action march Sydney 2019

Climate change the leading human rights concern for young Australians

According to one of the largest global surveys Amnesty International has ever undertaken, young Australian adults echoed the concerns of their counterparts in 22 countries by nominating climate change as the most important issue for the global community.

Amnesty’s polls asked young adults to give their views on the current state of human rights in their country, which issues they feel are most important, and whether their leaders are doing a good job with regard to human rights, or not.

Climate change and pollution ranked as the top two concerns facing Australia for the Australians surveyed.

Hundreds of thousands of people attended climate strikes around Australia in 2019 and more than 2500 businesses also joined the strikes by allowing staff to attend.

Young Australians demonstrated their commitment to direct action with more than half indicating that protest (55%) and non-violent civil disobedience (55%) were effective ways to initiate human rights change.

“With the recent rushed legislation in Queensland to crackdown on climate protesters and our Federal Government criticising protestors and threatening to ban secondary boycotts, it’s clear that people’s right to freedom of expression and assembly are being jeopardised.

“These results indicate the value young people place on their right to freedom of assembly and expression and any erosion of this vital human right is totally at odds with the views of young Australians,” Amnesty International Australia National Director Sam Klintworth said.

“Human rights should be at the heart of policy decisions no matter who holds government, a human rights act would protect all of our inalienable and indivisible rights.

“At their core, human rights are about respecting the dignity, equality and freedom of everyone. Someone’s quality of life should not be determined by factors beyond their control – be it race, nationality, gender, socio-economic background, sexuality or age.”