Government Human Rights Commissioner Invites Striking Student Climate Activists To Discussions

This week, students are holding seminars, lectures, screenings and workshops in 18 faculties that have joined the protest, including MUNI’s Faculty of Social Studies. Photo credit: JS / BD.

Prague, Nov 16 (CTK) – Government human rights commissioner Klara Simackova Laurencikova has invited representatives of the Universities for Climate Collective (UZK) to a joint debate, she announced in a statement. UZK are holding an occupation strike in several Czech universities this week to draw attention to the urgency of robust action to tackle climate change. 

Simackova Laurencikova said that the collective’s demands were crucial for seeking a solution to the climate challenge.

UZK’s activists will discuss the proposal, Anezka Lindaurova told CTK on behalf of the collective.

The students argue that the government is not dealing sufficiently with the climate crisis, the soaring prices of energy and growing social inequalities. The strike has been joined by university students from Prague, Brno, Olomouc, Usti nad Labem, Hradec Kralove and Plzen.

Simacka Laurencikova also promised to invite her colleagues from key government bodies to the meeting.

Lindaurova said that the students would discuss the proposal further, but so far, it seems they might use the opportunity to present their requirements.

The students have called on the government to set solving the climate crisis as its priority and start rapidly curbing the greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global warming.

They say the government should set up a special ministry or the post of a government commissioner to coordinate the fight against climate change and its impacts.

The students also called on the government to end coal-fired power plants in the Czech Republic by 2033.

In reaction to the students’ statement, Ondrej Charvat from the press department of the Environment Ministry said that the climate was already a priority for the government and that the cabinet supported the Green Deal for Europe. He also said that the ministry was seeking to end reliance on coal before 2033.

Simacka Laurencikova said that both the climate crisis and social inequalities had to be tackled, adding that it is necessary to stop asking “if” the climate needs to be saved and start focusing on “how” to save it.

The university students went on strike on Monday. On 17 November, the Czech national holiday, the strike will culminate in a march. The students will head for the government building where they want to present their requirements to the cabinet, said the organisers said.

During this week, students are holding seminars, lectures, screenings and workshops in 18 faculties that have joined the protest. The topics of these seminars and other events are climate change, energy poverty, social inequality and the economic transformation of coal regions in the Czech Republic.

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