Defending the defenders
12 Months, 1 Question: May 2021
Addressing the climate crisis requires the participation of all levels of society: individuals and governments as well as private sector.
The risk of climate breakdown very soon requires urgent action, however, the necessary structural changes are happening at a slow pace. Some brave individuals have been stepping up and joining the frontlines of this fight for our environment – risking their wellbeing and even their lives.
Global Witness reported 212 land and environmental defenders were killed in 2019 – an average of more than four people a week. The journalists, activists, local communities, indigenous peoples etc who stood up against big industries, corrupt officials or public apathy are putting themselves at enormous risk, on behalf of us all. In May we will discuss the context of violence against environmental defenders, the seeming impunity of many perpetrators of this violence and look into ways of better protecting them.
- Council of Europe, Protecting the Environment Using Human Rights Law
- Council of Europe, Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, ‘Environmental Rights Activism and Advocacy in Europe: Issues, Threats, Opportunities: Round-table with environmental human rights defenders and activists organised by the Office of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights’, 31 March 2021
- Environment and the European Court of Human Rights - Factsheet
- Joint Declaration on human rights and the environment by the outgoing and incoming Presidencies of the Committee of Ministers
- OSCE/Venice Commission Guidelines on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly
- United Nations, Declaration on Human Rights Defenders
- United Nations Human Rights Committee, General comment No. 37 (2020) on the right of peaceful assembly (article 21)
- UNODC and OHCHR, ‘Resource Book on the Use of Force and Firearms in Law Enforcement’, 2017,
- Earth Day: Youth Climate Activists to Follow on Social media