Rights education and children’s collective self-advocacy through public interest litigation
If human rights education of schoolchildren addresses advocacy at all, it is mostly or exclusively in terms of civic participation, which perhaps includes civil protest. This approach implicitly discourages young people from considering engaging with the courts as an additional or alternative vehicle in seeking a remedy for violations of their fundamental human rights. Human rights education is incomplete when it fails to address the child’s right to legal standing in the effort to seek justice; for instance, as part of a child collective that is significantly adversely and directly impacted by particular government actions. Exemplars of children acquiring legal standing and pursuing their rights through the courts can serve as a useful educational tool in raising awareness of the potential for child public interest advocacy through the courts. One such exemplar, the youth-led class action environmental protection case Juliana et al. v the United States et al., is discussed.
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