Children Making the Case for the Climate

ELAW Bulletin


An ELAW partner from Pakistan is bringing a pioneering case seeking climate justice for children and future generations.

Last month, the Pakistan Supreme Court heard arguments from ELAW partner Qazi Ali Athar and ruled in favor of seven-year-old youth petitioner Rabab Ali - Ali's daughter, overturning an initial ruling from the Court's Registrar that the suit was inadmissible.  The substance of the case will now gain the full attention of Pakistan's highest court.

Rabab Ali (left) and her brother Ali Monis.

ELAW is pleased to collaborate with Our Children's Trust on this case to raise the voices of youth around the world calling for climate justice.  It's one of many U.S.  and international cases in Our Children's Trust's global youth-led climate campaign.

"We owe it to children and future generations to leave them a healthy climate," says Bern Johnson, ELAW Executive Director.

In an interview with Third Pole Net, Rabab said, "I want the government to give me and my friends a safe environment to grow up in.  I want it to help me conserve it for future generations."

Rabab's suit asserts that dirty coal and other polluting fossil fuels violate the Public Trust Doctrine and the youngest generation's fundamental rights to life, liberty, property, human dignity, information, and equal protection under the law.

The Court allowed Rabab's climate case to proceed on behalf of present and future generations.

Our Children's Trust attorneys worked with Ali to prepare the petition as part of the coordinated youth-led legal climate campaign, with the support of ELAW staff.  In particular, ELAW Staff Scientist Mark Chernaik submitted an affidavit to the court in support of Rabab's case.

Ali told Third Pole Net: "I am invoking the ancient Public Trust Doctrine passed from the Romans into English common law.  It's very simple and states that things like water, air and the seas, which belong to every citizen, have to be protected.  The government, as the custodian of our natural resources, cannot exploit it.

We will watch for future developments in this case and keep you posted.

For more information about ELAW's work to protect the climate, please contact:

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide
(541) 687-8454 ext.  106

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