International court issues first-ever decision enforcing the right to a healthy environment

(Inside Climate News, 29 Mar 2024) The landmark ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will have far reaching implications for communities affected by extreme pollution.

Residents of La Oroya, Peru, known as one of the most polluted cities on Earth, have won a landmark victory from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which ruled last week that Peru was responsible for the physical and mental harm that a metallurgical facility’s pollution inflicted on 80 people. 

Among the victims were two individuals whose deaths the court determined were caused by pollution from the La Oroya Metallurgical Complex, a century-old smelting and refining plant located in Peru’s Central Sierra region, about 50 miles northeast of Lima. 

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in Costa Rica, ordered the government of Peru to provide free medical care to the victims and to compensate each individual upwards of $30,000 each, which includes medical costs and amounts for pain and suffering, depending on each person’s specific circumstances. Representatives of the deceased victims will receive $65,000 each.

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Inside Climate News, 29 Mar 2024: International court issues first-ever decision enforcing the right to a healthy environment