Climate Seniors to sue Switzerland in European Court of Human Rights

By agency reporter
October 28, 2020

A group of senior women is taking the Swiss government to the European Court of Human Rights because their health is threatened by heat waves made worse by the climate crisis.

The legal request by Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland and four individual women was first submitted in 2016 to their national government. It has now exhausted all possible avenues in Switzerland, after the Federal Court dismissed an appeal last May.

“Our demand for the Swiss government is simple: protect our health in the face of the climate crisis. The absurd logic of the national courts is that we cannot seek protection until it’s too late, so we’re taking Switzerland to the European Court of Human Rights. The current pandemic has proven that prevention is people’s best chance during a crisis, so why wait to address the climate crisis until there’s no way back? We are doing all we possibly can to make Switzerland take bold climate action now,” said Rosmarie Wydler-Wälti, co-president of Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland.

A delegation of Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland has sailed the Rhine from Basel to Strasbourg onboard the Greenpeace ship MV Beluga-II, to make a symbolic in-person delivery of their claim to the European Court of Human Rights. Representatives from other landmark climate cases, like members of the French L’Affaire du Siècle, joined the Swiss delegation in Strasbourg. Together they displayed a large bunting made of hundreds of flaglets designed by people that support Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland’s plea outside the court’s building. The official legal filing will take place in the following weeks.

“Greenpeace Switzerland has helped the senior women to build their case because it’s clear that the climate crisis is a public health crisis. Despite enjoying a reputation as human rights champions, the Swiss government and courts have completely dismissed the plea for justice in the face of the climate emergency. Seniors, youth, women and many other groups keep raising the climate alarm here and around the world. When will governments act for the well-being of their people?” said Georg Klingler, climate campaigner at Greenpeace Switzerland.

* Read a summary of the case here

* Read Holding your Government Accountable for Climate Change: A People’s Guide here

* ClimateSenior women https://klimaseniorinnen.ch/

* Greenpeace International https://www.greenpeace.org/international/


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