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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 »

“A deadly undertaking” – UN experts urge governments to protect environmental defenders

Speaking ahead of World Environment Day on Sunday 5 June, Special Rapporteur John Knox joined with Michel Forst, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Victoria Tauli Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, in issuing a joint statement emphasizing that protecting environmental rights defenders is crucial to protect the environment and the human rights that depend on it.

“This is no time for complacency”

Today, Special Rapporteur Knox issued a press statement stating that “The first test of States’ commitment to the principles of the Paris Agreement will be next week,” when government representatives meet in Bonn to negotiate the terms of a new international climate mechanism to transfer funds from developed to developing countries for projects that contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable development.  “This is no time for complacency,” he said. “The fact that 177 States have signed the Paris Agreement in less than a month is very welcome news, but the hard work of safeguarding the environment and human rights is just now beginning.”

Statement on the situation of Gustavo Castro Soto

On March 10, the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, Professor John Knox, joined the statement of Michel Forst, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, calling on the Government of Honduras to ensure the safety and protection of Gustavo Castro Soto, Mexican defender, who was hurt during the assassination […] Continue reading »

The Right to Sanitation

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to water and sanitation, Léo Heller, and the Chair of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Waleed Sadi, issued a joint statement praising the UN General Assembly resolution, adopted by consensus on 17 December, recognizing that ‘the human right to sanitation entitles everyone, without […] Continue reading »