Amnesty International urges Portuguese schools to let students participate in climate protests
Amnesty International has appealed to Portuguese schools to allow students to participate in Friday’s global climate strike, an initiative that considers the day to be an “important lesson” for students.
In this regard, the human rights organization wrote to 3,150 schools of all levels, public and private, including conservatories and vocational schools, according to information released today.
Amnesty argues that participation in this strike is part of the students’ right to exercise their freedom of expression, “a fundamental right that everyone enjoys”.
The letter, signed by the organization’s secretary general, Kumi Naidoo, reads that the right to a habitable planet is “like Article Zero of Human Rights.” Amnesty therefore wishes to covey that the participation of children and youth in the strike and initiatives associated with this cause should not be limited, and calls on all educational communities to mobilize in civic action to combat climate change.
Three trade union organizations issued strike warnings for Friday, including the largest teacher union organization, Fenprof, and the industry’s latest trade union, STOP.
Contacted by Lusa, the president of the National Association of Directors of Public Groupings and Schools (ANDAEP), Filinto Lima, said he sees teachers more empathetic with this strike than usual, thanks to a common point: “The environment has been mistreated like the teachers, ” he mocked.
At Filinto Lima’s School in Gaia, the letter from Amnesty has not yet arrived. However, his school has announced that they consider the initiative “much more important than a day of school”.
Across the country, rallies and protests are scheduled, most of them in the afternoon, to accommodate as many people as possible. “It is a very important civic act of awareness. I would like the Portuguese students to participate,” he confessed.
Dozens of Portuguese cities and towns have planned initiatives this week aimed at marking a foothold in the fight against climate change, following up on the recent social media boost to the movement, which some say Swedish activist Greta Thunberg is responsible for.
170 countries are expected to participate in this global climate strike, with thousands of events running across the globe. More than four million people worldwide went on climate strike last Friday, according to figures published by Greta Thunberg on Facebook. “This Friday, we will do it again,” she says.