European Court of Human Rights greenlights Swiss seniors’ climate case

Strasbourg, France — The European Court of Human Rights today accepted the complaint that Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland and four individual plaintiffs presented last October against Switzerland, giving the case priority status.

Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland’s co-president Rosmarie Wydler-Wälti said in response: “During the climate crisis, Switzerland must take effective climate measures to protect our rights to life and health. We would like the European Court of Human Rights to recognize this as the proceedings to hold Switzerland accountable move forward.”

Greenpeace Switzerland’s climate expert Georg Klingler added: “We welcome the fact that Switzerland will finally have to respond to the arguments of Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland. We hope that the European Court of Human Rights will ultimately answer the question of whether states are violating human rights through inadequate climate protection.”

The European Court of Human Rights has called on Switzerland to submit an official response to the complaint by 16 July 2021. That statement will have to explicitly cover its position on the rights to life and health of senior women.

This breakthrough step also means that Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland’s complaint is the second climate case that will be heard by the European Court of Human Rights, which rejects the majority of the complaints it receives. [1] Similarly, the climate movement in France recently celebrated a historic victory: a national court ruled that the French state’s inaction on climate protection is illegal. This climate lawsuit, which included Greenpeace France among others, was supported by more than two million French citizens. The wave of climate litigation is growing and keeps reaching the shores of more and more countries around the world. Greenpeace International believes that courts will continue to receive these legitimate claims for justice, particularly from those most impacted by climate change.

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