Human Rights & Climate Change Seminar at the Irish Centre for Human Rights

On Monday 6th November, the Irish Centre for Human Rights will host a seminar by Dr Gearóid Ó Cuinn and Gerry Liston of the Global Legal Action Network entitled ‘Climate Change in the European Court of Human Rights’. Gearóid is the director of GLAN and Academic Fellow at Lancaster University Law School, while Gerry is a Legal Officer with GLAN and currently a PhD candidate at the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Here are some details on the topic:

Climate change is increasingly recognised as one of, if not the greatest threats to human rights. With governments the world over failing to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to levels anywhere near what the climate change science indicates is necessary to prevent dangerous climate change, citizens are increasingly turning to courts to force these governments into taking the necessary action. And legal action has so far proven itself to be a tool with potential. In 2015, the Urgenda Foundation and over 800 Dutch citizens succeeded in securing a court order requiring the Netherlands to significantly cut its greenhouse gas. In the U.S. 21 youth recently defeated an attempt by the Trump administration to have their federal court climate change case struck out, with the judge concluding that she had “no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society”.

Against the backdrop of these successes, the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) has begun preparing a case on behalf of seven Portuguese youth against up to 47 European countries to the European Court of Human Rights. Working with a team of barristers from London’s Garden Court Chambers, they intend to bring their case directly to the Strasbourg Court to seek a decision that States must adopt reasonable measures to cut their emissions and thereby protect the human rights of the Portuguese applicants. Their case will be the first climate change legal action in which multiple States are sued at the one time.

The seminar takes place at 1pm next Monday in the Seminar Room of the Irish Centre for Human Rights.

For further details on GLANs’ fundraising campaign for the planned case in the European Court of Human Rights, visit:


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