In response to reports of threats of expulsion and action being taken against teachers supporting the School Strike for Climate marches taking place around the country tomorrow, Amnesty International Australia’s Manager Campaigns Tim O’Connor said:
“It’s deeply disappointing to hear reports of students being threatened with expulsion and teachers facing disciplinary action for supporting a fundamental right of our democracy: the freedom of assembly and the right to protest.
“These basic rights have delivered all sorts of benefits to Australia and are central to our country’s democratic values.
”Australians standing up for the values they believe in has led to important social and legislative change such as women achieving the vote, seeking justice for Indigenous Australians and more recently marriage equality. These people-powered movements have changed Australia for the better.
Amnesty International stands together with all students who are organising and taking part in school strikes for climate change.
“The fact is that young people, the future leaders of Australia, are frustrated their voices aren’t being heard by our government, who have failed to meaningfully address climate change. We should support them in peacefully engaging in the democratic process to have their voices heard on the issue of climate change.”
Student striker Harriet O’Shea Carre, 14 years old, said: “As school students, we’re sick of being ignored. We’re sick of our futures being turned into political footballs. We feel sick when we see the climate impacts that are already devastating communities here and around the world. It’s time for our politicians to stop making decisions about us without us”.
O’Connor continued: “We should all recognise and support non-violent direct action to campaign for human rights. Amnesty International stands together with all students who are organising and taking part in school strikes for climate change.
“Climate change presents one of the most urgent and pervasive threats to our human rights, especially the rights of young people, and we only have a short window of time to protect the world in which we live.