Two Catholic school students will address the Human Rights Council of the United Nations this week, calling out Australia’s approach to climate change and its treatment of refugees. Source: Marist Brothers.
Parramatta Marist High School year 11 students, Zain Chaudry and Brendan Pospischil, will speak to the council via video link on Thursday, providing their statements as representatives of the Marist Solidarity International Foundation (FMSI).
FMSI is an Italian registered Marist NGO that holds special consultative status with the UN.
The students first got involved with FMSI in 2020, after hearing that Australia’s human rights record would be under review in January of this year.
They were accompanied and advised by Marist alumni Bradley Murphy and Patrick Cooke, who had completed a three-month internship with FMSI in Geneva in late 2019. They were able to link the students with a range of UN Human Rights mechanisms and diplomats from Permanent Missions in Geneva.
Brendan and Zain were part of the group of seven students who researched and made recommendations on the human rights issues that they considered to be the most important in Australia – climate change, asylum seekers, refugees and domestic violence.
Brendan’s statement will focus on the effects of climate change on older people around the world, and the need for the UN to promote age-inclusive climate action.
Zain’s statement will reflect on Australia’s human rights record. He will ask the Australian Government to focus on committing to renewable energy, guaranteeing equal rights protection for asylum seekers and emphasising school education programs in the next federal domestic violence policy.
Teens reject Australia’s treatment of refugees at UN (Marist Brothers)