Amnesty International, the world’s leading human rights campaigning organisation, has recognised the Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and her youth movement Fridays for Future, with their ‘Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2019’ at a ceremony in Washington DC.
The award was granted just a few days before a set of climate strikes between the 20th and 27th of September are set to take place, which promises to be the largest to date.
Amnesty International says they chose to give the 2019 award to Thunberg because of her tenacious efforts to raise awareness around the climate crisis by missing school every Friday from August 2018 onwards, instead, protesting outside the Swedish parliament until it took more serious action to tackle the climate emergency. Her actions kicked off the Fridays for Future movement which has since mobilized more than one million young people from all over the world.
As she received the award Thunberg said: “This award is for all of those millions of people, young people, around the world who together make up the movement called Fridays for Future. All these fearless youth, fighting for their future. A future they should be able to take for granted. But as it looks now, they cannot.” She said the young people in the movement are fighting for their and everyone’s lives on our shared planet. She encouraged everyone despite the harsh realities of the climate crisis to keep up the fight, stating: “Activism works. So, what I’m telling you to do now, is to act. Because no one is too small to make a difference. I’m urging all of you to take part in the global climate strikes”.
The organisation said that the Ambassador of Conscience Award is their highest honour, celebrating people who have shown unique leadership and courage in standing up for human rights – people who have acted on their conscience and used their talents to inspire others.
The award was presented to her just days before the first-ever Peoples’ Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival Summit, co-organised by Amnesty International, which took place between the 18th-19th September, the climate strikes and ahead of the UN climate action summit on the 23rd of September – all of which Thunberg is taking part in.
The Swedish climate activist travelled to the US in a zero-carbon sailing yacht to raise awareness about not flying for climate reasons. This week she also gave evidence to the US Congress, directly suggesting to them that they have not done enough to tackle climate change. She also met with former US President Barack Obama. In December she will travel to Chile to take part in COP25, the annual UN climate summit.
Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said, “Millions of people are already suffering the catastrophic effects of disasters whose impacts have been made far worse by climate change. It is young people like Greta and those involved in the Fridays for Future school climate strike movement, who are proving that it is possible to change our ways. They have demanded that we stop ignoring the magnitude of the crisis and stop making excuses, and instead start mobilizing”.
The Ambassador of Conscience Award was founded in 2002 to celebrate individuals and groups who have furthered the cause of human rights by acting on their conscience, confronting injustice and using their talents to inspire others.
The global climate strikes are taking place on the 20th-27th September with the main protest happening on Friday the 20th of September. These are set to be the largest strikes ever; all age groups are being encouraged to take part in the strikes with several companies also pledging their support. There are more than 2,400 events planned in 1,000 cities around the world.
A greener life, a greener world is also supporting the strikes with a digital banner covering the full screen of our site throughout Friday.