Among the many individuals attending the inauguration ceremony of East Timor’s new President José Ramos-Horta might be a 10-year-old local weather activist from India.
Licypriya Kangujam was invited as a particular visitor of honour for the inauguration of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate on Thursday, a day earlier than Asia’s youngest nation marks the twentieth anniversary of its independence.
East Timor, formally often called Timor-Leste, was colonised by Portugal within the 18th century and remained beneath its management till 1975. When the Portuguese withdrew, troops from Indonesia invaded and annexed the island nation as its twenty seventh province.
A UN-sponsored referendum for freedom held in 1999 and a brutal retreat by Indonesian forces noticed the nation of 1.3 million individuals emerge as a republic three years later.
‘Invitation very particular’
Kangujam, who’s the founding father of The Little one Motion environmental organisation, informed Al Jazeera she was “very stunned” when she first bought the invitation to attend the high-profile occasion.
“Often at such large occasions, solely overseas presidents and prime ministers are invited as particular company. I really feel this invitation may be very particular and has an incredible message on how small island international locations like East Timor are threatened by local weather change,” she mentioned.
“The inclusion of local weather activists in each subject and decision-making course of is sort of vital.”
The kid activist mentioned her go to would strengthen relations between India and East Timor.
Kangujam was born in a village close to Imphal within the northeastern Indian state of Manipur. When she was 5, her household moved to Bhubaneswar within the coastal state of Odisha, the place Cyclone Titli in 2018 and Cyclone Fani in 2019 killed tons of of individuals and destroyed properties.
On the age of 9, Kangujam moved to Noida on the outskirts of the Indian capital New Delhi, one of many world’s most polluted cities, the place she lives together with her mom and a youthful sister.
The fifth-grade scholar says the local weather disaster in Odisha and New Delhi’s air pollution points left a deep impression on her and turned her into one of many world’s youngest local weather activists.
In 2019, she addressed world leaders on the United Nations Local weather Convention 2019 (COP25) in Madrid, urging them to take quick actions to save lots of the way forward for kids like her.
The younger activist says she was alone when she began her motion in 2018. “However at this time I’ve love and assist from 1000’s of individuals throughout the globe.”
A number of overseas dignitaries are attending Ramos-Horta’s inauguration ceremony.
US President Joe Biden on Monday introduced a presidential delegation to the nation, based on a White Home assertion.
Ramos-Horta, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for his efforts to deliver a peaceable decision to the battle in East Timor, scored a landslide victory within the presidential election final month.
The Nobel laureate beforehand served as president from 2007 to 2012 and was additionally the nation’s first prime minister.
‘Will hearken to their tales’
East Timor is extremely susceptible to local weather change, with rising sea ranges, frequent floods, cyclones, droughts, landslides and soil erosion.
Final yr, Tropical Cyclone Seroja killed dozens of individuals within the nation whereas 7,000 have been displaced.
Throughout her go to to East Timor, Kangujam will handle the nation’s parliament and go to the College of East Timor. She mentioned civil society organisations within the nation have additionally invited her to work together with kids and younger individuals there.
“I’ll hearken to their tales and also will inform the world in regards to the issues they’re going through. We’ll discuss long-term peace and growth and the way we will battle local weather change collectively,” she informed Al Jazeera.
“My voice will symbolize the unheard voices of the tens of millions of individuals of the world and in addition for the numerous, unvoiced animals.”