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Litigating the climate crisis: Helena O'Mahony for Humanitarian Practice Network

Posted on 15 March 2024

Helena O'Mahony, of Mishcon Purpose, has written a piece for Humanitarian Practice Network, examining the role of the international human rights system in addressing the climate crisis and highlighting the potential of litigation to enforce state accountability and drive climate action.

The article discusses the intersection of climate change with human rights and the significance of recent legal cases, such as the complaint by Torres Strait Islanders against the Australian Government.

Helena wrote: "The case of Daniel Billy et al. v Australia represents a turning point in international human rights litigation. It is the first time that an international tribunal has found a country has violated human rights law through inadequate climate policy. This landmark decision not only underscores the culpability of state inaction in the face of climate change but also sets a precedent for future cases that could shape the global response to this existential threat. As climate-related conflict and displacement worsen, international human rights law and its institutions will need to adapt and respond. The case of Daniel Billy represents an opportunity: the international human rights system has the capacity to create one of the most powerful enforcement mechanisms to drive government response to the climate crisis."

Read in full.

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