New blog series analyses the connection between climate litigation and human rights

Author: César Rodríguez-Garavito, Open Global Rights, Published on: 29 June 2020

"Climate litigation and human rights: averting the next global crisis," 26 Jun 2020

A truly global pandemic is not the only unprecedented emergency that will mark 2020. This year is also expected to be the hottest one ever measured for the planet as a whole. This reminds us that “one crisis doesn’t stop because another one starts."...

In this Up Close series, we will explore a specific advocacy and regulatory tool that is gaining momentum around the world: human rights-based climate change litigation. Brought before national and international judicial and quasi-judicial bodies—from domestic courts to regional courts to UN human rights entities...

As I show in an ongoing study, prior to 2015, only five rights-based climate cases had been filed anywhere in the world. Between 2015 and mid-2020, litigants brought forty suits against states (and, to a much lesser extent, corporations) for human rights violations related to climate change in twenty-two national jurisdictions and in three international judicial or quasi-judicial bodies...

As this “rights turn” in climate litigation has taken hold, actors undertaking, supporting or encouraging it have proliferated apace. They include environmental and human rights organizations at the domestic and international levels, social and climate justice movements, UN special rapporteurs, indigenous peoples’ organizations, public prosecutors and governmental and intergovernmental human rights bodies. 

This blog series takes stock of this trend and analyses the opportunities and challenges it raises for climate action and human rights.

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