[WSMDiscuss] Fwd: Fwd: HRC40 | Council unanimously recognises vital role of environmental human rights defenders

Ashish Kothari chikikothari at gmail.com
Wed Mar 27 17:29:15 CET 2019

This may be of interest and use,


-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: 	Fwd: HRC40 | Council unanimously recognises vital role of 
environmental human rights defenders
Date: 	Fri, 22 Mar 2019 17:08:49 +0530
From: 	Miloon Kothari <miloon.kothari at gmail.com>


good news from the Council.

the scope of human rights has expanded beyond belief in the last ten 
years. its great!!

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: *International Service for Human Rights* <information at ishr.ch 
<mailto:information at ishr.ch>>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2019 at 16:41
Subject: HRC40 | Council unanimously recognises vital role of 
environmental human rights defenders
To: <miloon.kothari at gmail.com <mailto:miloon.kothari at gmail.com>>



*HRC40 | Council unanimously recognises vital role of environmental 
human rights defenders*

/*The Human Rights Council has adopted a strong consensus resolution 
recognising the critical role of environmental human rights defenders in 
protecting vital ecosystems, addressing climate change, attaining the 
sustainable development goals (SDGs) and ensuring that no-one is left 

The resolution 
meets many of the civil society demands ISHR expressed in ajoint letter 
along with more than 180 groups. By formally acknowledging the important 
role of environmental human rights defenders, the Council highlights 
the legitimacy of their work, helps counter stigmatisation and can 
contribute to expanding their operating space.

Though the resolution falls short in some key areas, its adoption by 
consensus is a positive step towards better protection of environmental 
human rights defenders. It must now be followed by implementation at the 
national level by all relevant stakeholders, including States, UN 
agencies, businesses and development finance institutions.

/'We all want to breathe clean air, drink safe water, and to be able to 
provide sustenance and //a healthy//, dignified life for our families. 
Human survival and well-being //rests//on a biodiverse and healthy 
environment and a safe climate',/ said Salma El Hosseiny, HRC Advocate 
at the International Service for Human Rights.

/'Environmental human rights defenders help us to achieve just that. 
Through this resolution, the Council //recognises//and celebrates their 
work. It will hopefully lead to more breathing space for defenders, and 
therefore for us all,' /El Hosseiny said.

While the resolution needs to be translated from the paper adopted in 
Geneva to real action on the ground, this is the first time that the 
world's top human rights body has explicitly and with one voice called 
for the protection of environmental human rights defenders. This can be 
used by civil society as a lever to push for concrete action.

The resolution was led and presented by Norway, on behalf of 60 States 
from all regions. In particular, many Latin American States strongly 
supported the resolution, which is significant given the dangerous 
situation for defenders in many of those countries. The consensus on the 
protection of environmental human rights defenders is a welcome sign of 
unity by the international community in recognising defenders' vital 
contribution to a biodiverse and healthy environment, to peace and 
security, and to human rights.

/‘We now look to States, business enterprises and development finance 
institutions to take rapid and decisive steps to address the global 
crisis facing environmental human rights defenders/’, said Michael 
Ineichen, Programme Director at the International Service for Human Rights.

/‘This means States need to create protection mechanisms which guarantee 
the security of defenders. States must also ensure that businesses put 
in place specific policies and processes allowing for the inclusion of 
human rights defenders and their concerns in due diligence processes’/, 
Ineichen said.

Key points of the resolution 

  * Expresses alarm at increasing violations against environmental
    defenders, including killings, gender-based violence, threats,
    harassment, intimidation, smear campaigns, criminalisation, judicial
    harassment, forced eviction and displacement. It acknowledges that
    violations are also committed against defenders’ families,
    communities, associates and lawyers;
  * Recognises that the protection of human rights defenders can only be
    achieved through an approach which promotes and celebrates their
    work. It also calls for root causes of violations to be addressed by
    strengthening democratic institutions, combating impunity and
    reducing economic inequalities;
  * Pays particular attention to women human rights defenders, by
    stressing the intersectional nature of violations and abuses against
    them and against indigenous peoples, children, persons belonging to
    minorities, and rural and marginalised communities;
  *   Urges States to adopt laws guaranteeing the protection of
    defenders, put in place holistic protection measures for and in
    consultation with defenders, and ensure investigation and
    accountability for threats and attacks against environmental human
    rights defenders; and
  *   Calls on businesses to carry out human rights due diligence and to
    hold meaningful and inclusive consultations with defenders,
    potentially affected groups and other relevant stakeholders.

While the resolution was adopted by consensus, the unity came at the 
price of a lack of specificity in certain areas. For instance, the 
resolution does not clearly recognise all of the root causes of the 
insecurity facing environmental human rights defenders, as documented by 
UN experts, nor comprehensively name the perpetrators or the most 
dangerous industries. It also fails to clearly spell out the human 
rights obligations of development finance institutions, and to detail 
the corresponding necessary steps to consult, respect and protect the 
work of environmental human rights defenders.

*Contact: *
Michael Ineichen
Programme Director
m.ineichen at ishr.ch 
+41 78 82 777 86

*Our mailing address is:*
1, Rue de Varembe
Geneva 1211

Add us to your address book 

*Miloon Kothari *
*Independent Expert on Human Rights and Social Policy
Senior Advisor, MIT Displacement Research Action Network (DRAN)

Former Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, UN Human Rights Council

B-23 Nizamuddin East
New Delhi - 110013, India*
Telephone: +91 98106 42122*
*E-Mail: miloon.kothari at gmail.com <mailto:miloon.kothari at gmail.com>
*Skype: miloon.kothari*
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