Do you live on a street with high levels of particulate matter? Then simply sue for violation of your human rights. Excessive levels of particulate matter in the air have been shown to increase the risk of respiratory diseases, heart attacks and lung cancer. This violates the human right to life and health. Article 2, paragraph 2 of the Basic Law enshrines the right to life and physical integrity.
Back in 2008 – over ten years ago – the European Court of Justice ruled that German citizens could sue for an “action plan against particulate matter pollution”. This was triggered by a dispute between a Munich resident and the Bavarian government over particulate matter pollution on Munich’s busy Mittlerer Ring. To date, no such action plan has been drawn up.

Instead, the German government is delaying effective climate protection measures. At the end of last year, an alliance consisting of the German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND), the German Solar Energy Association and several individual private plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Karlsruhe on the grounds that the government’s climate policy violates the fundamental rights to life, health and property. Measures to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees have not been taken.

It is nothing new for Germany to be accused of violating human rights. Amnesty International, for example, regularly criticizes the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in Germany, excesses of violence by German police officers and Germany’s shared responsibility for human rights violations abroad, for example in the fight against terror. Social organizations see the increasing poverty in Germany as a violation of human rights. Now the lack of climate policy adds up to this list of violations.

Three organic farmers and their families have filed another lawsuit against the lack of climate protection together with Greenpeace. They also complain that the government has not implemented its promise to limit carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. They see this as a violation of their fundamental right to life and health, freedom of occupation and guarantee of property. This action is pending before the Berlin Administrative Court.

This shifts political debates to the courts. Political action by the federal government is being sued in court. This says a lot about the stagnation of politics in this country.

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©Nur Baute Berlin GmbH, 2023 |
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©Nur Baute Berlin GmbH, 2023 |
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