Swiss authorities refuse to act, so these senior women are taking their climate case to court

Press release - 26 May, 2017
St. Gallen, Switzerland, 26 May 2017 – Members of the association, Senior Women For Climate Protection (Klimaseniorinnen), today personally delivered their legal complaint against Swiss authorities to the Federal Administrative Court. This is the first-ever climate case to be heard by the Swiss judiciary and was filed on behalf of more than 770 senior women aged 65 and over.

The Association filed the lawsuit in response to the Swiss authorities’ decision to reject their legal request “to stop omissions in climate protection”, which they submitted on 25 November, 2016.[1] The senior women believe that the government’s response, issued by the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), did not provide reasonable justification for the rejection and completely failed to address the seniors’ valid constitutional and human rights concerns.

Rosmarie Wydler-Wälti, Co-President of Senior Women For Climate Protection, said: “The constitutional and human rights of people particularly vulnerable to climate change are being violated by the federal government's continued failure to fulfill its duty to protect us and our children from climate change. Now the Federal Administrative Court will have to make a decision on the issue.”

Greenpeace Switzerland supports the case. Georg Klingler, climate campaigner, said: “There is a huge gap between what the Swiss authorities are doing and the actions needed to guarantee a safe and stable climate. Science shows that, unless the government changes course, the lives of senior women and other groups particularly vulnerable to climate change are at risk. Switzerland’s inaction is a direct violation of the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.”

The Swiss climate case is one of many people-powered legal actions related to climate change, including actions initiated by frontline communities in the Philippines, Indigenous Peoples in Canada, farmers from Peru and Pakistan, youth in New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Uganda, and the United States, and individuals and NGOs in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Sweden.[2] In each of these cases, people are using the power of the law because governments and fossil fuel companies are failing to protect and to respect human rights.

ENDS

Photos: http://act.gp/2s29Gg3

Notes for Editors:

[1] The official legal application is in German.
English translation of the Senior Women For Climate Protection’s request: http://klimaseniorinnen.ch/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/request_KlimaSeniorinnen.pdf

Summary of the Senior Women For Climate Protection’s request in English: http://klimaseniorinnen.ch/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/161024_summary_swiss-climate-case_def.pdf

[2] For more information on the people-powered legal actions around the world:

http://www.horizons.gc.ca/eng/content/what-if-governments-and-companies-are-challenged-courts-over-alleged-inaction-climate-change

https://wedocs.unep.org/handle/20.500.11822/20767

http://www.peoplevsbigpolluters.org

Contacts:

Georg Klingler, Climate & Energy campaigner, Greenpeace Switzerland: +41 79 785 07 38,

Kristin Casper, Litigation Counsel, Climate Justice and Liability Campaign, Greenpeace Canada - based in Toronto (CET -6 hrs): +1 (416) 889-6604,

Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours),  

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