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Statement on Evictions of Sengwer in western Kenya

On 15 January, John Knox joined Michel Forst, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, to issue a statement expressing their concerns about reports that indigenous Sengwer peoples in western Kenya had been attacked and forcibly evicted from their homes as a result of the implementation of the Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation project, an EU-funded water management project.  The experts called on the Kenyan authorities to urgently halt the evictions of the Sengwer community and undertake impartial investigations of these attacks, and on the EU to suspend funding for the project until measures have been taken to uphold international standards on indigenous peoples’ rights.

Treaty on environmental democracy in Latin America/Caribbean

The Special Rapporteur joined nine other UN human rights experts to issue a statement urging governments in Latin America and the Caribbean to adopt a strong and binding treaty on environmental rights, including rights to information, participation and access to justice. Their appeal came representatives from the region met in Santiago, Chile, for their eighth […] Continue reading »

Visit to Mongolia

The Special Rapporteur undertook a country visit to Mongolia from 19 to 27 September.  He discussed a wide range of human rights and environmental issues with government officials and members of civil society, including issues relating to mining, air pollution in the capital, water pollution, and the effects of climate change.  In a statement and press release at the conclusion of the visit, he emphasized the importance of effective implementation of laws on public participation and information.   He will present his final report on the visit to the Human Rights Council in March 2018.

Attacks on indigenous and environmental rights in Brazil

On June 8, Professor Knox joined the UN Special Rapporteurs on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli Corpuz, and on human rights defenders, Michel Forst, as well as the Inter-American Commission Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Francisco José Eguiguren Praeli, to issue a joint statement denouncing attacks on indigenous and environmental rights in Brazil.

Statement on World Environment Day

On June 5th, the Special Rapporteur issued a statement for World Environment Day emphasizing that a healthy environment is necessary for the full enjoyment of human rights, and calling attention to the accelerating loss of biodiversity on which healthy ecosystems depend.   

Visit to Uruguay

From 24 to 28 April, the Special Rapporteur conducted a country visit to Uruguay, where he met with government officials and members of civil society to address the progress and challenges Uruguay faces with human rights related to environmental protection.  He issued a statement at the close of his visit, which praised Uruguay’s steps to move towards almost-complete reliance on renewable energy.  He suggested more public participation in environmental decision-making and the creation of a new “environmental ombudsperson” position that could serve as a focus for environmental complaints.  He will present a report on Uruguay to the Human Rights Council in March 2018.  

UN rights experts condemn Viet Nam for incommunicado detention of blogger ‘Mother Mushroom’

John Knox joined Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on freedom of association, David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, and Baskut Tuncak, Special Rapporteur on toxic substances, in issuing a joint statement urging the Government of Viet Nam to immediately release a popular blogger known as Mother Mushroom, […] Continue reading »

Special Rapporteurs call for new treaty on pesticides

The Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, and the Special Rapporteur on toxic substances, Baskut Tuncak, called attention to the dangers of pesticides to human health and the environment, and called for a new international treaty to regulate and phase out the use of dangerous pesticides, in a report to the Human Rights Council.  They pointed to research showing that pesticides cause an estimated 200,000 acute poisoning deaths each year. The vast majority of these deaths occur in developing countries.

Statement by Vicki Tauli-Corpuz on her visit to the United States

On March 3, at the end of her two-week visit to the United States, Vicki Tauli-Corpuz, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, issued a statement that, among other things, criticized the United States for authorizing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline without an adequate assessment or meaningful consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribes in the area.  She will issue a full report with recommendations.

States must fulfil human rights obligations in protecting biodiversity

On March 1, ahead of World Wildlife Day on March 3, the Special Rapporteur urged governments to fulfil their human rights obligations to protect the world’s irreplaceable plants and animals.  He stated:  “The rapid loss of biological diversity around the world should be setting off alarm bells.  We are well on our way to the sixth global extinction of species in the history of the planet, and States are still failing to halt the main drivers of biodiversity loss, including habitat destruction, poaching and climate change. What is less well understood is that the loss of biodiversity undermines the enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, including rights to life, health, food and water.”  For the full text of the statement, click here.