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Annual Report

Over a year ago, Russia attacked the whole of Ukraine
– and no end to the war is in sight. It is producing
immeasurable human suffering, first and foremost for
Ukrainian children. At the same time, the impact of this
war is being felt far beyond Europe. In our perception
it has sidelined numerous, already long existing global
crises, such as the climate crisis and, at the same time,
exacerbated the hunger crisis since imports of grain
from Ukraine – important for many countries – have
not gone ahead or have become unaffordable. In view
of supposedly more urgent problems, many states
have postponed their climate policy goals. For example,
coal mining in megaprojects once thought extinct
has been revived in the Global South, as illustrated by
El Cerrejón in Colombia, the world’s largest coal mine.

At the same time, the space for civil society action is
shrinking in many regions of the world, e.g. for defending
children’s and human rights, refugees and ethnic
minorities. In many places this goes hand in hand with

the dismantling of already fragile democratic structures,
for instance through the military coup in Myanmar
or the violent regime of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
It is, and remains, terre des hommes’ mandate to
stand in solidarity with people who need our support
– precisely in crises that attract little media attention
and tend to be forgotten. That involves stepping up the
forming of civil-society alliances, such as within the
Terre des Hommes International Federation, through
the Joining Forces Alliance of international children’s
rights agencies, or by thematic campaigns like the
Supply Chain Initiative.

terre des hommes achieved a significant success at the
global level in 2022 when we received advisor status
at the United Nations in order to organise the drafting
of a General Comment on the Convention of the
Rights of the Child regarding a child’s right to a healthy
environment. This was a great political victory at the
UN level, for which we had worked for a long time
after all, it is now over ten years since we started
striving to enshrine and articulate children’s right to a
healthy environment in international law. Our partner
organisations have long been providing proof of how
children, in particular, suffer under mining projects,
the use of pesticides or water and air pollution. General
Comment 26, to be published in September 2023,
clearly states that children have a right to a healthy
environment. The next step will be to implement it at
the national and local level. Governments have to pass
effective national laws for the protection of the environment
and guarantee that they are enforced. terre
des hommes will continue to accompany this process.

 

 


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