Environmental defenders harness their experiences and valuable knowledge about nature to secure the present and future of our planet. They contribute to the enjoyment of human rights by shedding light on the current state of the environmental crisis and advocating for environmental protection and sustainable development. They are both defenders of the environment and defenders of human rights. Now more than ever, they are vital to finding equilibrium as we face one of the most pressing challenges of our time – the climate crisis.
Environmental human rights defenders are defined by the UN as ‘individuals and groups who, in their personal or professional capacity and in a peaceful manners, strive to protect and promote human rights relating to the environments, including water, air, land, flora and fauna’ (United Nations Environment Programme).
They defend the land and environment from destructive industries such as mining and extractives, logging, agribusiness or poaching. The work of environmental human rights defenders includes empowering communities and advocating for the protection of ecosystems. This often leads them to counter the interests of big corporations, organizations and governments. As a result, they are facing growing harassment, assaults, intimidation, stigmatization and criminalization. Environmental rights defenders are facing a constant and growing threat to their lives (Global Witness report, 2021).
We must support environmental human rights defenders so that they can continue to safely continue their important work.
Shelter City stands side by side with environmental defenders.