Climate Change

Swiss women win climate change case in European Court

On April 9th, Europe’s top human rights court delivered a landmark ruling, finding that the Swiss government had failed in its duty to safeguard the human rights of its citizens against the harmful impacts of climate change.

The case originated in 2016 when a group of 2,000 Swiss women, all aged over 64, initiated legal proceedings against Switzerland. After an arduous eight-year battle in domestic courts, they leveraged the international law principle of “exhausting domestic remedies” to elevate their grievances to the European Court of Human Rights. Their argument centered on the detrimental effects of climate change on their health, highlighting the increased risks faced by women, especially those over 75, such as dehydration, fatigue, and loss of consciousness due to rising temperatures.

The court’s verdict carries significant global implications, setting a precedent for future climate change litigation where citizens can hold their governments accountable. This decision marks a pivotal moment, empowering similar pending cases and establishing a clear legal pathway for climate-related lawsuits. The victory is not just legal; it also injects renewed vigor into the climate action movement, serving as a catalyst for motivation.

For many of the women involved, winning the case seemed improbable, yet the court’s ruling underscores the importance of persistence in advocating for our planet’s well-being and the power of collective action.

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