Greta Thunberg, 15 other children file complaint saying world leaders not acting on climate change

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and 15 other children from 12 countries filed a complaint to the United Nations Monday alleging world leaders violated children's rights because of inaction on climate change. 

The complaint was filed with the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child on the same day Thunberg spoke at the U.N. Climate Summit, criticizing world leaders for what she called decades of passivity as scientists warned about the impending threat of climate change.

“Change needs to happen now if we are to avoid the worst consequences. The climate crisis is not just the weather. It means also, lack of food and lack of water, places that are unlivable and refugees because of it. It is scary,” Thunberg, 16, said in an announcement of the complaint. 

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The child petitioners range in age from 8 to 17. 

American climate activist Alexandria Villaseñor, 14, is among the 16 petitioners. The other children are from Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Marshall Islands, Nigeria, Palau, South Africa and Tunisia. 

The complaint aims to inspire urgent action needed to curb global heating and mitigate the impact of the climate crisis. 

It was filed through the Third Optional Protocol, which allows children or adults on their behalf to appeal directly to the United Nations for help. 

Youth have been at the center of the fight against climate change. 

Thunberg, a Nobel Peace Prize candidate, started demonstrating outside the Swedish Parliament last year, sparking global youth-led protests.