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Europe top court to nations: Cut emissions to shield human rights

2,000 elderly Swiss women win climate case against govt

Europe top court to nations: Cut emissions to shield human rights

Photo for representational purpose only. File photo



Strasbourg (France), April 9

Europe’s highest human rights court on Tuesday ruled that countries must better protect their people from the consequences of climate change, siding with a group of older Swiss women against their government in a landmark ruling that could have implications across the continent.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled the Swiss government had violated the human rights of its citizens by failing to do enough to combat climate change. The ruling, in favour of the more than 2,000 Swiss women who brought the case, is expected to resonate in court decisions across Europe and beyond, and to embolden more communities to bring climate cases against governments.

“This is a turning point,” said Corina Heri, an expert in climate change litigation. Although activists have had success with lawsuits in domestic proceedings, this was the first time an international court ruled on climate change — and the first decision confirming that countries have an obligation to protect people from its effects, according to Heri.

She said it would open the door to more legal challenges in the countries that are members of the Council of Europe, which includes 27 EU nations and others from Britain to Turkey. The court said the Swiss government had failed to comply with its own targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and had failed to set a national carbon budget. — Agencies 

#Climate change #Environment #Europe #France #human rights


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