Research project

Dissecting the Inter-American Human Rights System in the age of climate change

The research project focuses on the role of the Inter-American Human Rights System in addressing climate change at present, and in the future.

Measures concerning climate change mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage, have clear and widely acknowledged human rights implications, such as violation of indigenous peoples’ rights, tensions between legitimate interests, and the difficulty in attributing specific harm to an identifiable actor. Such implications are especially significant for countries in Latin America, where climate- vulnerability is a prominent issue. 

Indeed, climate change will touch upon every aspect of the lives of all individuals and organisations in the region, prompting victims to resort to national and regional judicial bodies to seek reparations for human rights violations resulting from climate change. At the regional level, the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS) is therefore expected to play a role in this connection by interpreting the rights of those living in the continent and granting appropriate remedies. Both the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights have been deemed norm innovators with international impact, providing victims with a space to attain truth and justice. However, even if these bodies have addressed rights connected to the environment, so far climate change cases have either been dismissed or haven't gone beyond the admissibility stage before the Commission.

Against this backdrop, this PhD research project will focus on the institutional arrangements and normative production of the IAHRS in the context of climate-related cases. By dissecting the IAHRS’ at the levels of access, interpretation of the law and the provision of remedies for alleged victims, the research will deliver a clearer picture of the role of this human rights institution in addressing climate change at present and in future. The research project will offer a novel and much-needed contribution to academic scholarship and practitioners on the role of human rights law in responding to complex and pressing societal challenges associated with climate change. 


  • Juan Auz, PhD Researcher at the Centre for Fundamental Rights