Launch of the UN Environmental Rights Initiative from 0930 – 1500 hrs
Environmental rights are enshrined in over 100 constitutions yet almost four people a week are killed defending those rights, while many more are harassed, intimidated and forced from their lands. Around 40-50 percent of the 197 environmental defenders killed in 2017 came from indigenous and local communities.
But the environmental defenders’ crisis is not confined to indigenous communities. Violations of environmental rights are on the rise worldwide fueled by corruption, greater competition for natural resources, weak enforcement, and the irresponsible exploitation of land and other natural goods.
The links between human rights and the environment are rapidly gaining recognition at the international level, including through the adoption of groundbreaking UN Human Rights Council Resolutions on Human Rights and the Environment and on Environmental Human Rights Defenders, as well as a UN General Assembly Resolution on the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
The UN’s Environmental Rights Initiative is bringing environmental protection nearer to the people by helping them to better understand their rights and how to defend them; by working with media to improve coverage of rights issues; by calling on the private sector to move beyond a culture of compliance to one where environmental rights are championed; and by assisting governments to implement environmental rights obligations.
Learn more about human rights and the environment:
Advancing environmental rights
United Nations Mandate on Human Rights and the Environment
Environmental Rights Database
Watch: Environmental Defenders (English)
Watch: Environmental Defenders (Spanish)
Watch: Environmental Defenders (Portuguese)
Read the Global Witness annual report on environmental defenders here.
Learn more about environmental defenders: Environment Rights
For more information contact:
Niamh Brannigan, Communications Officer for Environmental Governance +254 717 733348, niamh.brannigan[at]un.org