The mobilizations in the streets to demand that the rulers take measures to alleviate the effects of climate change are giving way to actions in the courts to force them to take them. In line with other processes undertaken in the world, six young people from Portugal are going to present this Wednesday before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) a lawsuit against 32 countries in which they allege that the countries are failing to comply with their rights obligations. humans by not doing enough to protect them from climate change. “We were afraid, but we don’t regret it because we know we are fighting for our lives”Cláudia Agostinho (24 years old), one of the six young women who presented the writing today, told Efe.
Also participating in the lawsuit are Martim Agostinho (20) and Mariana Agostinho (11), Sofia Oliveira (18) and André Oliveira (15) and Catarina Mota (23). The six have decided to bring the 27 member states of the European Union (EU), in addition to the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Russia and Turkey, to the ECHR, after the devastating fires that Portugal suffered in 2017. Four of them live in the Leiria district, about 140 kilometers north of Lisbon, which was one of the areas affected by the wave of fires that left a hundred dead in different parts of Portugal. The tragedy, they explain, was what prompted them to take those countries to court for not doing enough to protect them from the climate crisis.
If their lawsuit is successful, these 32 countries could be legally obliged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, as detailed by Amnesty International, one of the groups that signed a brief presented to the court, arguing that governments have the obligation to protect human rights internationally through its climate policies.
“As in so many other places, young people are leading the way and demonstrating that there are legal avenues to achieve climate justice. “While this case is very important, it is only one of several underway to ensure the protection of everyone’s right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment,” Mandi Mudarikwa, Amnesty’s Director of Strategic Litigation, said in a statement. International.
The demand comes on the heels of an extreme summer that has seen intense heat waves, devastating wildfires and destructive torrential rains that climate scientists have linked to climate change. A week ago, the UN held a mini-climate summit in New York in preparation for the Climate Summit that will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates from November 30 to December 12, the event in which countries negotiate their plans to cut CO2 emissions. , and funds to help countries adapt and alleviate the effects of climate change. And the effects of climate change, these young people argue, are already being felt in all parts of the world and it is essential to take effective measures.