Miércoles, 10 de abril, 2024

Reacting to rulings today by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on three landmark climate cases, involving older Swiss women, six young Portuguese people, and a former French mayor and member of the European Parliament, Mandi Mudarikwa, Amnesty International’s Head of Strategic Litigation, said:

“The ECtHR has set a vital and historic precedent today with its ruling in the case involving the Swiss women by finding that the Swiss government had failed to comply with its duties under the European Convention concerning climate change, including failing to set clear limits on greenhouse gas emissions and not meeting its past greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.”

“The determination and tenacity of the applicants in all three cases seeking climate justice through courts was both remarkable and encouraging. We especially recognize the courage of the young people involved as they looked to protect not only their future but the future of generations to come.

The ECtHR’s ruling sends a powerful message to policymakers in European countries that states must intensify their efforts to combat climate change.

Mandi Mudarikwa, Amnesty International’s Head of Strategic Litigation

“The Swiss case ruling strengthens legal pathways to achieving climate justice through the ECtHR. It is hugely significant that the ECtHR recognized the harm caused to the applicants by climate change and that the Swiss government was doing too little to curb greenhouse gas emissions and adequately protect them.

“The ECtHR’s ruling sends a powerful message to policymakers in European countries that states must intensify their efforts to combat climate change. We note that the decisions of the ECtHR to dismiss the other two other climate-related cases was based on procedural considerations, rather than on the respective merits of each case.

“Strategic litigation can help to deliver climate justice and protect the rights of billions from global warming, especially the most marginalized, and will yield benefits – as we have witnessed today with the Swiss case.”


The ECtHR ruled on three climate cases. In Klimaseniorinnen Schweiz and Others v Switzerland, a group representing more than 2,500 older Swiss women argued that their government’s failure to adequately mitigate global warming violated their human rights to health and life and puts them at risk of dying during heatwaves.

In Duarte Agostinho and Others v Portugal and 31 Other States six young Portuguese people argued that countries bound by the European Convention on Human Rights — the 27 EU states, as well as the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Russia and Turkey — had infringed several human rights after heatwaves and forest fires closed down their schools and risked their health. Amnesty International submitted a joint third-party intervention in the case on the obligation on governments to create climate policies which protect the rights of people outside their borders.

In the third case, Damien Carême, a former mayor of Grande-Synthe, a suburb of Dunkirk in northern France, argued that the French government has neglected its obligation to protect life by failing to take sufficient steps to prevent climate change and therefore heightening the risk of future flooding in the area.

The right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment was universally recognized by the UN General Assembly in 2022. Amnesty International is part of a coalition calling for the adoption of an additional protocol on the right to the European Convention on Human Rights which would help reinforce and clarify the ECtHR’s jurisprudence on environmental protection, including climate change. Summaries of today’s rulings can be accessed here.