ICJ and ICJ-Switzerland intervene in key climate change case before the European Court of Human Rights

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Swiss Section of the ICJ have submitted a third party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights in a case against Switzerland challenging its lack of sufficient action to prevent climate change and thereby protect human rights.

“This case provides an important opportunity for the Court to ensure access to justice as the impacts of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights intensify.” Said Róisín Pillay, Europe and Central Asia Director of the  ICJ.

“We have intervened to help ensure that international human rights law plays its part in limiting damage to the climate that will be catastrophic for human rights .”

The two organisations intervened in the case Verein Klimaseniorinnen Schweiz and Others v. Switzerland, in which the European Court of Human Rights will have to decide on legal questions that are fundamental to allow access to justice to protect the environment and human rights against the adverse effects of climate change.

The case was brought by an association of hundreds of elderly women in Switzerland who asked the Swiss Government to implement concrete measures to meet the target of maintaining global temperatures at 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2030, as provided by the 2015 Paris Agreement, ratified by Switzerland.

The ICJ and the Swiss Section of the ICJ have provided the European Court with expert observations on the meaning of direct and indirect victims of human rights violations and the victim status of associations and NGOs; the right of access to court and the right to an effective remedy; the affects of climate change on the right to life and the right to respect for private and family life and for the home ; and  the positive obligations of States resulting from these rights, in light of principles of international environmental law.

You can read and download the text of the intervention here.

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