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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.

UN rights expert urges Kenya to protect four environmental defenders whose lives are under threat

John H. Knox, the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, urged the Government of Kenya to take all necessary measures immediately to protect Ms. Phyllis Omido and three other environmental human rights defenders who have been assaulted, subjected to death threats, and forced into hiding since they filed a law suit against a […] Continue reading »

Joint statement on crackdown on Acción Ecológica

The Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, together with the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of assembly and association, on freedom of opinion and expression, on the situation of human rights defenders, and on the rights of indigenous peoples, issued a statement criticizing the Government of Ecuador for ordering the closure of Acción Ecológica’, an NGO that supports environmental and indigenous rights. We urged the Ecuadorian authorities to reverse the decision and reform the legislation it is using to dissolve the groups, which it has used in the past for dissolving groups such as ‘Pachamama’ and the ‘Unión Nacional de Educadores’.

Joint Statement of Special Procedures on Human Rights Day

Here is the joint statement of the UN independent experts and special rapporteurs on Human Rights Day, 2016: “The greatest achievement of the international community since the end of World War II has been the construction of an international human rights system based upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted 68 years […] Continue reading »

Statement on Standing Rock protesters

Maina Kiai, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, issued a statement criticizing U.S. security forces for using excessive force against the protesters from the Standing Rock Sioux and many other indigenous peoples, as well as other sympathizers, who are opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  The Special Rapporteur emphasized that: “The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is an individual right, and it cannot be taken away indiscriminately or en masse due to the violent actions of a few.  The use of violence by some protesters should not be used as a justification to nullify the peaceful assembly rights of everyone else.”

Statement on Dakota Access Pipeline

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe in the United States, joined by many other indigenous peoples and others, have been opposing and peacefully protesting the construction of a crude oil pipeline because of concerns that it could adversely affect their drinking water. In September, Vicki Tauli-Corpuz, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, issued a statement — endorsed by John Knox and other special rapporteurs — calling on the United States to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, consult with the affected communities in good faith, and ensure their free and informed consent prior to the approval of the project.

“Make human rights the priority in all conservation efforts”

“Effective and sustainable conservation requires respect for human rights, today said two United Nations experts on environment and indigenous peoples rights, ahead of the largest global forum for the adoption of conservation policies on protected areas: the World Conservation Congress (WCC), which will take place from 1 to 10 September in Honolulu, USA. “The escalating […] Continue reading »