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Contributions to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Advisory Opinion


On January 9, 2023, the Governments of Chile and Colombia submitted a joint request for an advisory opinion (AO) before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (the Court) on “The Climate Emergency and Human Rights”. The Court accepted the request in March 2023 and set 18 December 2023 as the deadline for submitting written observations.

As established in the preamble of the request, the objective of the Advisory Opinion is to clarify the foundations and scope of the human rights affected by the climate emergency in the Americas, along with the obligations of States to protect those rights by addressing the causes and consequences of climate change, taking into account considerations of equity, justice, and sustainability.

IGSD, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), and the Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA) are preparing amici, as well as helping other institutions and individuals with their amici submissions.

To support the process, IGSD has prepared several background documents on scientific and legal considerations at the nexus of climate change and human rights:

General Recommendations for a Strong Amicus

To increase the likelihood that the Court will be able to consider and integrate the content of an amicus the following is suggested:

  1. Include a one- to two-page summary of the core messages of your amicus
  2. Select a limited number of key issues or messages within your area of expertise, rather than addressing all questions or considerations presented by the request for the advisory opinion.
  3. Submit the amicus prior to the final deadline.
  4. Invite organizations or persons with special expertise to join in the preparation and authorship of your amicus.


Two other international tribunals have also received requests for similar opinions – The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Request for Advisory Opinion submitted by the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law and climate change – Deadline 16 June 2023) and the International Court of Justice (Request for an Advisory Opinion from the United Nations General Assembly on the obligation of states regarding climate change – Deadline for amicus submission 20 October 2023).

Taken together, these three opinions have the potential to strengthen the laws and legal institutions of the world in relation to the responsibilities, decisions, and activities of States and private actors with respect to the climate emergency.

The Advisory Opinion of the IACtHR may be the first to be issued of the three, and therefore its content could be considered by the two other tribunals. The Advisory Opinion before the Inter-American Court is human rights centered. As such, given the Court doctrine, Judiciaries will be required to exercise a “conventionality control” between the domestic legal provisions, which are applied to specific cases, and the American Convention on Human Rights.

Spanish translation here.