BY OUR REPORTER
Climate change has been described as the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century by the World Health Organization. The collapse of ecosystems, global weather disasters, rising temperatures and sea levels, and the depletion of water resources are all outcomes of climate change and all caused by human activity.
The International Day for Street Children is celebrated every year on 12th April. The day provides a platform for the millions of children on the streets around the world and their champions to speak out so that their rights will not be ignored.
Drought, flooding, extreme weather events, rising temperatures, and desertification directly undermine a broad spectrum of children’s rights, from access to food and safe water, to housing, education, freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse, and – too frequently – their right to survive and thrive.
It is estimated by the UN-CRC, that over the next decade approximately 175 million children a year will be affected by climate related disasters, in the next two decades from 37.5 to 125 million additional African children will be subjected to water scarcity, and by 2050 an estimated 25 million more children will be undernourished as a result of climate change.
Zephaniia Bwambale Kameli, a community and Climate Change activist and team leader at Shirikisha Civic Organization of East Africa, says that Climate change threatens the effective enjoyment of a range of human rights including those to life, water and sanitation, food, health, housing, self-determination, culture and development.
“Climate change is a child rights crisis. We must fight it by conserving the environment with planting trees.” He added.
Climate-related migration is another huge risk factor in children’s well-being. UNHCR’s 2020 Global Trends report shows that among the 79.5 million who were displaced at the end of 2019, as many as 30-34 million were children, with tens of thousands of them unaccompanied.
Additionally, about 50 million people could be at high risk of displacement because of the consequences of climate change. For children, there is a much higher risk of abduction, and therefore more risk of abuse and trafficking.
Migration also affects education as many children are unable to return to schools, resulting in the huge losses to immediate and long-term wellbeing that accompany lack of education.
Pardoney Bwambale, Executive Director at Hemtog Foundation Uganda, a non-profit making foundation aiming at Reducing Risks for Low-Income and Disadvantaged Communities in Urban and Rural Areas of the Rwenzori and Uganda; underscored the need for respect of the rights of street children.
Presiding over the event at HEMTOG offices in Kasese town, Komachechi Godfrey Ojara the OC Ibuga Government Prison, pledged support to the vulnerable community groups, including the street children. Over 100 trees was planted along the Mubuku River in Mubuku Town Council.