Strategic litigation based on indigenous peoples’ rights: a viable option to force States to act against climate change?

    Project Details


    On 15 March 2019, an international strike was organized by young people to request a more ambitious climate change policy. The political inaction also led concerned citizens and associations to bring the issue to Courts, invoking the impacts of climate change on human rights. Such a case is currently pending in Belgium. This research project aims at studying this new and innovative type of lawsuits. More precisely, it will research the possibility of introducing similar lawsuits based on the rights of indigenous peoples. This is interesting because indigenous people maintain a close relationship with their environment and they are thus more affected by climate change than the rest of the population. They also enjoy special rights in international law to protect their traditional lands and cultures that could usefully be invoked in climate lawsuits because they acknowledge the importance of the environment and its conservation in a way that does not exist in general human rights. The research project will thus study the potential of invoking those rights in lawsuits against States to force them to adopt a stronger climate policy. It will focus on 3 rights that are particularly pertinent in the context of climate change: the right to land, the right to cultural identity and the right to the conservation of the environment. It will also focus on 2 peoples living in areas very affected by climate change: the Torres Strait Islanders in Australia and the Saami in Scandinavia
    Effective start/end date1/01/2031/12/23


    • Strategic litigation
    • indigenous peoples’ rights
    • climate change

    Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

    • Litigation, adjudication and dispute resolution
    • Human rights law
    • International law
    • Comparative law
    • Environmental law


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