Youth climate challenge reaches European Court of Human Rights

Date: 10th December 2020
Category: Other human rights treaties and mechanisms, Non-discrimination, Right to life, survival and development, Respect for the views of the child


The European Court of Human Rights has ordered 33 European governments to respond to a landmark climate action lodged by six youth campaigners.

Six children and young adults from Portugal (aged 8 to 21) filed the crowdfunded action in September. It alleges that the 33 countries - including the UK and the 27 members of the European Union - are ‘categorically failing to enact the deep and urgent emissions cuts required to avert a climate catastrophe’.

Their aim is to obtain a legally binding decision obliging governments to ‘take the urgent action needed to stop the climate crisis’. In their opinion, the effects of the crisis are affecting their rights to life and private and family life, and also entail discrimination based on their age.

At the end of November, the ECtHR announced it will be fast-tracking the case, and has ordered the states to respond to the complaint by February 2021.

  • Find all the information about the case and the activists here
  • Read coverage by the Guardian here and here
  • Read an analysis by experts here