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Completely frustrated: Young Manipuri climate activist on disrupting Dubai COP 28 summit

'Leaders lie, people die… act now,' Licypriya Kangujam chanted as she paraded from one end of the podium to the other for close to a minute holding a poster that read: 'End fossil fuels; save our planet and our future.' She was escorted out by security staff

Jayanta Basu Dubai Published 13.12.23, 05:58 AM
Licypriya Kangujam outside the COP 28 venue in Dubai

Licypriya Kangujam outside the COP 28 venue in Dubai Sourced by the Telegraph

Licypriya Kangujam, the 12-year-old climate activist from Manipur who created a flutter at the COP 28 summit in Dubai on Monday by jumping onto the podium during a high-level meeting and protesting the continuation of fossil fuel, told The Telegraph on Tuesday that she was “completely frustrated” with the inaction and lip service of leaders and her act was spontaneous.

"Stop fossil fuel" has become a war cry at the ongoing Dubai COP 28; and global leaders' failure to arrive at a consensus on the agenda could push the summit beyond its scheduled closure on December 12.

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“Leaders lie, people die… act now,” Licypriya chanted as she paraded from one end of the podium to the other for close to a minute holding a poster that read: "End fossil fuels; save our planet and our future." She was escorted out by security staff. Licypriya's registration batch, along with her mother's, has been seized and she has been denied further entry into COP 28. Her act received immediate applause from all around the room.

Licypriya, who joined the Dubai COP in the capacity of a special envoy of the Asian country Timor Leste, had participated in the Madrid and Sharm El Sheikh COPs earlier.

"I jumped onto the high-level podium as I was completely frustrated with our leaders doing actually nothing about it (fossil fuel cuts)…. Only lip service and blah blah blah; and I acted spontaneously,” Licypriya told this correspondent outside the COP venue. She alleged that the inaction of leaders to contain the fossil fuel surge would push the world over the 1.5 degrees Celsius cut-off beyond which a crisis is imminent.

“I am fighting to save the planet and our future,” Licypriya said, adding she got involved in the climate movement at an early age when her teachers taught her about the perils of neglecting the environment and the climate change agenda.

“I was in Odisha at a young age and also saw the impact of Cyclones Titli and Fani on people; now in Delhi I see the impact of heat,” pointed out the young activist, who has received a lot of support on social media from fellow activists across the world.

Licypriya alleged violation of her right with UN officials seizing her badge and throwing her out of the COP premises. “They even warned that I would not get a badge in any future COP,” she said, but pledged to continue to come to future summits.

“I was really worried for her for a while as I saw her jumping onto the stage, but could not locate her after that for close to half an hour. I started calling my family back home and wrote about the incident on social media; and then we met in front of the registration kiosk where she was brought,” said her mother Kangujam Ongbi Bidyarani Devi.

Licypriya is known as one of the youngest climate activists globally, and had even addressed world leaders at the Madrid, Spain COPs and urged them to take immediate climate action.

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