Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights publishes observations in the Duarte Agostinho case

Yesterday the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights published her written observations to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Duarte Agostinho and others v. Portugal and 32 other States, which relates to the negative impacts of climate change on a range of ECHR human rights, in particular those of younger generations.

The Commissioner’s observation notes the pronounced impact of environmental degradation and climate change on human rights, and argues that international environmental and children’s rights law instruments should play a significant role in defining the scope of states’ obligation to prevent human rights violations caused by environmental harm. In the Commissioner’s view, the European Convention on Human Rights encompasses many elements of the right to a healthy environment, and provides a solid legal framework for the protection of victims of climate change. She also emphasised  the importance of access to justice and argued for flexible standing requirements, stating that climate change is “a cross-border problem that requires cross-border solutions”.

The Commissioner concluded that “the increasing number of climate change-related applications provide the Court with a unique opportunity to continue to forge the legal path towards a more complete implementation of the Convention and to offer real-life protection to individuals affected by environmental degradation and climate change.”

To read the full text of the intervention, click here.

This is not the only third-party intervention to be brought in Duarte Agostinho, which is shaping up to be a landmark case. A group of human rights organisations and academics, among the Amnesty International, have also published their intervention. To read their submission, click here.

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