The Guardian • Issue #2095

HALF OF THE SKY

Climate Justice Triumph: Swiss Women’s historic victory

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2095
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In a landmark victory for the working class, a group of Swiss women, united under the banner of KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz (Senior Women for Climate Protection) have triumphed over the capitalist structures that have long prioritised profit over the planet. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, has delivered a ruling that resonates with the struggles of the common people, declaring that the Swiss government’s inadequate action on climate change constitutes a violation of human rights.

This historic decision, favouring over 2000 Swiss women, many of whom are over the age of 64, sets a powerful precedent for future climate litigation. It is a testament to the resilience and determination of older generations fighting not just for their own well-being, but for the future of all workers who will have to continue to struggle against the State for climate justice.

The court’s ruling acknowledges the disproportionate impact of climate change on older women, who face heightened risks during heatwaves. It is a clear indictment of the Swiss government’s failure to meet its own greenhouse gas emission targets and establish a national carbon budget. Court President Siofra O’Leary’s words underscore the urgency of the matter, as she highlights the severe burden that future generations will bear due to current failures to address climate change.

Rosmarie Wydler-Walti, a leader of KlimaSeniorinnen, expressed her astonishment at the magnitude of their victory, which her lawyers affirmed as the most significant achievement possible. This ruling is not just a win for the plaintiffs, but a beacon of hope for working class communities across Europe and beyond, who may now feel emboldened to hold their governments accountable for climate inaction.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice, representing the government, has acknowledged the judgement and is set to review future measures in response to the court’s findings. The verdict, unappealable, carries international weight, establishing a binding legal precedent for all countries under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Switzerland now faces a legal obligation to intensify its efforts to reduce emissions. Should it fail to update its policies, it risks further litigation and potential financial penalties. This ruling could also influence future decisions at the Strasbourg court, which has six other climate cases on hold, including one against the Norwegian government for extending oil and gas exploration licences.

The KlimaSeniorinnen’s victory is a rallying cry for the working class, signalling that the tides are turning against the capitalist forces that have long ignored the environmental plight of the masses. It is a clear call for governments to prioritise the health of the planet and its inhabitants over the interests of the few. This decision not only vindicates the struggles of the Swiss women but also paves the way for a more equitable and sustainable future for all.

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