• Press Release

Landmark Decision by Philippines’ Human Rights Commission Paves Way for Climate Litigation

December 9, 2019

Activists comprised of students and professionals gather in front of a banner as they take part in a world-wide climate rally, at the University of the Philippines' campus in Manila on September 20, 2019. - Activists in Manila took part in the millions-strong global climate strike on September 20 -- heeding the rallying cry of teen activist Greta Thunberg and demanding adults take action to stave off environmental disaster. (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP) (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)
Responding to the announcement by the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights that 47 major fossil fuel and carbon-polluting companies could be held accountable for violating the rights of its citizens for the damage caused by climate change, Ashfaq Khalfan, Amnesty International’s Director of Law and Policy said:

“The Philippines Human Rights Commission has today created a beacon of hope for the victims of the climate crisis.  This is the first time ever that a human rights body has said that fossil fuel corporations can be been found legally responsible for human rights harms linked to climate change.

“While the Commission’s decision has no immediate penalties for the companies in question, their landmark announcement creates a major legal precedent. It opens the door for further litigation, and even criminal investigations, that could see fossil fuel companies and other major polluters either forced to pay damages, or their officials sent to jail for harms linked to climate change. The decision also affirms that fossil fuel companies have to respect human rights and invest in clean energy.

“We in the human rights community need to seize on the momentum created by this decision to hold polluters and governments to account.”