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Article

6 May 2022

Author:
FIDH

European Court of Human Rights condemns Italy for failure to uphold rights violated in cases related to ILVA steel plant pollution

"Strasbourg Court rebukes Italy for failure to uphold rights violated by corporations in ILVA case", 6 May 2022

In four judgments issued [on 5 May 2022], the European Court of Human Rights condemned Italy for violating the rights to private life and to effective remedy protected under Articles 8 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights in several cases concerning the pollution emitted by the former ILVA steel plant of Taranto, Italy.

FIDH and its member organisation in Italy, Unione Forense per la Tutela dei Diritti Umani (UFTDU), welcome these decisions by which the Court insists that the impunity enjoyed by the company needs to end and condemns Italy for repeatedly failing to take responsibility for redressing the violations caused by the heavy pollution produced by the plant...

The detrimental consequences of the activities of ILVA on the environment were known to the Italian government since at least the 1990s. However, the adoption of preventive measures or sanctions was deliberately delayed, in flagrant violation of Italy’s European and international human rights obligations. The impact of the public health crisis on people living in Taranto was repeatedly denounced by several bodies and organisations, including recently by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights during its visit to Italy in October 2021...

These judgments by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which rarely accepts or renders judgments in cases related to business activities, follows its 2019 ruling in “Cordella and Others v. Italy” on the same matter. The decision represents another significant step further developing the Court’s jurisprudence in this regard...

...If properly executed, these judgments will send a strong message across Europe that corporate human rights and environmental abuses will not go unpunished and that victims of violations can obtain justice...

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