Around the planet, brave individuals and communities who stand up in defence of life on Earth and human rights are persecuted, intimidated and even killed. At a time when it has never been more important to protect the planet, it has never been more deadly. In 2014 alone, 116 Earth defenders were killed; that’s two every week.
The following collection of materials offer an insight into the risks faced by those who stand up against injustice, and the need to support them.
EJOLT: The Persecution and Violation of Human Rights of Environmental Defenders
This excellent 10-page fact sheet from ejolt outlines some of the critical information for understanding the role of Earth and human rights defenders and the situations in which they are operating. Read more to discover:
- the UN’s definition of a human rights defender, and how this relates to our living planet
- the rights violations suffered by Earth defenders
- the legal framework in place to protect Earth defenders
- Case studies from around the world.
Global Witness: Deadly Environment
Global Witness has been at the forefront of documenting and combating the increasing threats to activists at the world’s ‘environmental frontiers’ where the aggressive expansion of mining, logging and agribusiness threatens human lives as well as whole ecosystems.
Overview: The group’s 2014 report Deadly Environment collates numerical and geographical data on the killings of Earth defenders between 2002- 2014, using easy to read graphics, analysis and case studies. (Available in English y en Espanol)
Case Studies: The majority of activists killed due to their defence of Earth and their communities come from the South and Central America and Asia-Pacific regions. Global witness has undertaken detailed analysis of a number of countries in these regions, including Honduras, Peru and the Philippines. See the case studies here.
Up-to-date news: As part of their ongoing campaigns, Global Witness provide breaking news on the violation of Earth Defenders’ rights as they happen. Follow the group on Twitter to stay up to date.
UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
The position of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders was established in 2000 by the Commission on Human Rights to support implementation of the 1998 Declaration on human rights defenders.
The webpages devoted to this position include a number of useful and important documents:
- A definition of human rights defenders and what they do.
- Description of the role of the Special Rapporteur and their powers.
- Press releases and statements made by the SR
- A fact sheet on Protecting the Right to Protect Human Rights
- A Commentary to the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders: an essential guide to the right to defend human rights.
Frontline Defenders: For the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Front Line Defenders was founded in Dublin in 2001 with the specific aim of protecting human rights defenders at risk, people who work, non-violently, for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Front Line Defenders addresses the protection needs identified by defenders themselves and provides rapid and practical support to at-risk human rights defenders.