2023-09-27 – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-66923590?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA

Raw: [They claim governments’ slow action on climate change violates their human rights.] BBC HomepageSkip to contentAccessibility HelpYour accountHomeNewsSportReelWorklifeTravelFutureMore menuMore menuSearch BBCHomeNewsSportReelWorklifeTravelFutureCultureMusicTVWeatherSoundsClose menuBBC NewsMenuHomeWar in UkraineClimateVideoWorldUS & CanadaUKBusinessTechScienceMoreEntertainment & ArtsHealthIn PicturesBBC VerifyWorld News TVNewsbeatWorldAfricaAsiaAustraliaEuropeLatin AmericaMiddle EastClimate change: Six young people take 32 countries to courtPublished2 hours agoShareclose panelShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingRelated TopicsClimate changeImage source, Claudia Duarte AgostinhoImage caption, Claudia (r) says she suffers from eco-anxiety, Martim's (l) allergies have soared and Mariana (m) was diagnosed with asthmaBy Selin GiritBBC World News”What I felt was fear,” says Claudia Duarte Agostinho as she remembers the extreme heatwave and fires that ripped through Portugal in 2017 and killed more than 100 people. “The wildfires made me really anxious about what sort of future I would have.”Claudia, 24, her brother Martim, 20, and her sister Mariana, 11, are among six young Portuguese people who have filed a lawsuit against 32 governments, including all EU member states, the UK, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey.They accuse the countries of insufficient action over climate change and failing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions enough to hit the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5C.The case is the first of its kind to be filed at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. If it is successful, it could have legally-binding consequences for the governments involved. The first hearing in the case is due later on Wednesday.Aged from 11 to 24, the six claimants argue that the forest fires that have occurred in Portugal each year since 2017 are a direct result of global warming.They claim that their fundamental human rights – including the right to life, privacy, family life and to be free from discrimination – are being violated due to governments' reluctance to fight climate change. They say they have already been experiencing significant impacts, especially because of extreme temperatures in Portugal forcing them to spend time indoors and restricting their ability to sleep, concentrate or exercise. Some also suffer from eco-anxiety, allergies and respiratory conditions including asthma.None of the young applicants is seeking financial compensation.Image source, Global Legal Action NetworkImage caption, Mariana still gets scared when she hears helicopters flying overhead, which remind her of 2017's wildfires”I want a green world without pollution, I want to be healthy,” says 11-year-old Mariana. “I'm in this case because I'm really worried about my future. I'm afraid of what the place where we live will look like.”Claudia says Mariana still gets scared when she hears helicopters flying above, which remind her of the firefighters back in 2017, when more than 50,000 acres (78 sq miles, 202 sq km) of forest were destroyed, and ashes from the wildfires were falling over their house miles away.”I think it is really amazing for Mariana to get involved in this case, to have such a conscience at her age,” Claudia says.”But it is also very worrying: Why does she need to think about these things? She should be playing with her friends and dancing to TikTok videos instead.”Lawyers representing the six young claimants are expected to argue in court that the 32 governments' current policies are putting the world on course for 3C of global warming by the end of the century.”It's catastrophic heating,” says Gearóid Ó Cuinn, director of Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) that is supporting the applicants.”Without urgent action by the governments, the youth applicants involved in this case face unbearable heat extremes that'll harm their health and their wellbeing. We know that the governments have it within their power to do much more to stop this, but they are choosing not to act,” he says.Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Portugal has experienced record heat in recent years, causing wildfires every year since 2017A 2021 Lancet study found that climate anxiety and dissatisfaction with government responses to climate change were widespread in children and young people across the world and impacted their daily functioning.Based on a survey of 10,000 children and young people aged 16-25 in 10 countries across the world, the study suggested that a perceived failure by governments to respond to the climate crisis was associated with increased distress.In separate and joint responses to the case, the governments argue that the claimants have not sufficiently established that they have suffered as a direct consequence of climate change or the Portuguese wildfires.They claim there is no evidence to show climate change poses an immediate risk to human life or health, and also argue that climate policy is beyond the scope of the European Court of Human Rights jurisdiction.”These six young people from Portugal, who are ordinary individuals concerned about their future, will be facing 32 legal teams, hundreds of lawyers representing governments whose inaction is already harming them,” says Gearóid Ó Cuinn.”So this is a real David vs Goliath case that is seeking a structural change to put us on a much better track in terms of our future.”Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Verdicts by the European Court of Human Rights are legally binding for member statesThe Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, who intervened in the case as a third party, says this case has the potential to determine how states address climate issues and human rights.”It is actually an alarm to member states, to international organisations, to all of us that have a particular chance to show that we do care, and that it's not just words on paper. It's not just ticking a box and saying we are for this or that resolution. It's about changing our policies,” she told the BBC.The ECHR ruling would legally bind the 32 governments at once to increase their climate actions by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and phasing out fossil fuels.It would also influence domestic courts who have been seeking guidance from the ECHR on cases related to climate change. A verdict is expected in nine to 18 months.Claudia says she often thinks about whether she should have children in the future, questioning the state of the world they would be living in. “But winning this case would mean there would finally be hope,” she says.”It would mean that people are really listening to us and that they are as worried as we are and that the governments would really have to take measures to do something about it. It would be amazing for everything – for our anxiety, for our futures. A lot of things can follow after that.”Related TopicsPortugalEuropean Court of Human RightsClimate changeMore on this storyUN calls for radical changes to slow warmingPublished8 SeptemberUK no longer a world leader on climate – watchdogPublished28 JuneSweltering and sheltering: Summer 2023 in six extreme weather eventsPublished1 SeptemberTop StoriesAt least 100 dead in fire at wedding party in IraqPublished18 minutes agoTrump liable for fraud in New York civil case – judgePublished1 hour agoOne quarter of Karabakh's ethnic Armenians fleePublished6 hours agoFeatures'They bombed everywhere': Survivors recount Karabakh attackYoung people sue 32 countries over climate change'My dream was to wear whatever I wanted'Fifa's name change to EA Sports FC is big gambleThe election with India and China on the ballotAir India 1985 bombing back in news after Canada rowThe costly economic practice here to stayWhy massive shoes are the trend of 2023'France takes us for idiots' – Inside coup-hit NigerElsewhere on the BBCHow I rewired my brain in six weeksA 'beach towel revolt' sweeping GreeceThe rise of 'finfluencers'Most Read1Trump liable for fraud in New York civil case – judge2At least 100 dead in fire at wedding party in Iraq3Biden dog bites another Secret Service agent4Canada's Speaker quits after Nazi in parliament row5Air India 1985 bombing back in news after Canada row68 mile actor Nashawn Breedlove dies aged 467Kevin McCarthy's job on the line as shutdown looms8Fact-checking Trump claim that wind turbines kill whales9Russian video 'shows fleet commander alive'10Assault trial begins for ex-fashion mogul NygardBBC News ServicesOn your mobileOn smart speakersGet news alertsContact BBC NewsHomeNewsSportReelWorklifeTravelFutureCultureMusicTVWeatherSoundsTerms of UseAbout the BBCPrivacy PolicyCookiesAccessibility HelpParental GuidanceContact the BBCGet Personalised NewslettersWhy you can trust the BBCAdvertise with us© 2023 BBC. 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