Parents key to mitigating risks of environmental harm to children

01.07.20

UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - At the Annual Discussion on the Rights of the Child, MMM took the floor to highlight the key role of parents, especially mothers as the primary caregivers, in realizing the rights of the child through a healthy environment.

A healthy environment is especially key during the early years, including during pregnancy: the beginning of a child’s life is a period of special sensitivity and importance for their development in reaching their full potential.

Early childhood is therefore a critical period for the realization of the rights of the child, beginning with the right to health – and it is a period when children are heavily dependent in all aspects on their caregivers, who in most cases is their mother.

Above all, a mother’s exposure to environmental pollution during pregnancy and breastfeeding can negatively affect the development of her child, with potentially devastating life-long consequences.

As parents have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of their child, they are also in the best position to mitigate the risks and effects of environmental harm on their children, especially during the critical early years.

Karen Thorsen, delivering the Statement on behalf of Make Mothers Matter

Karen Thorsen, delivering the Statement on behalf of Make Mothers Matter

We at MMM are therefore calling on Member States:

  1. To recognize parents, especially mothers, as relevant and key actors for the realization of the rights of the child through a healthy environment
  2. To support and empower parents through awareness raising of potentially damaging environmental issues for their child, access to information and environmental education.

MMM Oral Statement for download

The Statement was delivered as part of the 44th Session of the UN Human Rights Council during the Annual Discussion on the Rights of the Child, which this year was on Realizing the rights of the child through a healthy environment. 

MMM also supports the Call for action which was launched at this occasion by a coalition of Child Rights experts and a group of NGOs of Child Rights Connect.

We call upon Member States to ensure that children’s voices are not only heard, but acted upon, by placing children’s rights and best interests at the core of ambitious and concrete environmental actions and policies, including recognition of a human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

Call for action

 

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