Brazil’s High Court Becomes First in the World to Declare Paris Agreement a Human Rights Treaty

The supreme court of Brazil declared the Paris Agreement, a 2015 international treaty limiting global warming to 1.5°C, a human rights treaty that would supersede national laws.  

Brazil is the first country worldwide to declare Paris Agreement a Human Rights Treaty following the high court’s decision in a case about the failure of the government to distribute money from a national climate fund. 

“Treaties on environmental law are a type of human rights treaty and, for that reason, enjoy supranational status. There is, therefore, no legally valid option to simply omit to combat climate change,” the Supreme Federal Court ruled and ordered the government to reactivate the fund. 

Previously, four political parties in Brazil – the Workers’ Party, Socialism and Liberty Party, Brazilian Socialist Party, and Sustainability Network – filed the case after the government failed to distribute money from the National Climate Fund

In its defense, the Brazilian government argued that the court’s interference violated Brazil’s separation of powers since the Climate Fund was not constitutionally protected. 

However, the ruling meant that any law contradicting the Paris Agreement violates the constitution and human rights. 

“The constitutional duty to allocate the funds effectively means that there is a duty to mitigate climate change considering the international commitments under the climate change framework,” Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law case chart explained

The Supreme Court is also set to rule on two additional climate cases, the Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon and the other against the government for failing to manage the Amazon Fund

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