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  • Human Rights Research Center

Historic Climate Change Ruling by European Human Rights Court

April 12, 2024

Cited article by BBC

HRRC applauds the European Court of Human Rights for upholding human rights in the context of climate change, emphasizing the need for urgent action to protect vulnerable populations from its adverse impacts.

News Brief

A group of older Swiss women, predominantly in their 70s, secured a historic victory in the European Court of Human Rights, marking the first climate case win in the court's history. They argued that their age and gender made them especially susceptible to the impacts of heatwaves exacerbated by climate change. The court condemned Switzerland's insufficient efforts to meet emission reduction targets, stating that the country had failed in its obligations under the Convention concerning climate change and had violated the right to private and family life. The ruling, which is binding, has the potential to influence climate policies across 46 European countries, including the UK.

The Swiss women, part of the group "Senior Women for Climate Protection," emphasized their inability to leave their homes and their health vulnerabilities during heatwaves. The case, initiated nine years ago, underscores the growing urgency for climate action. While the ruling signifies a significant step forward in climate litigation, it also highlights the escalating legal battles worldwide to address climate change. Despite some dismissals by the court, including cases from Portuguese youth and a former French mayor, the verdict underscores the imperative for governments to expedite efforts to mitigate climate change's far-reaching consequences.


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