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 round of negotiations on an agreement to implement Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration, in which States all around the world committed to promote access to information on the environment, to foster participation in decision-making processes affecting it, and to provide access to justice in environmental matters.
“The adoption of the proposed new environmental treaty would be an important milestone for the region. It would be a tangible expression of solidarity and realization of States’ commitment to human rights and to environmental protection,” the experts said.
The agreement is particularly important, the experts noted, because the region is one of the most dangerous in the world for environmental human rights defenders. In 2016 alone, more than 100 environmental defenders were killed in the region.
“To protect the environment, we must protect the human rights of people who work to defend the environment,” Special Rapporteur Knox emphasized. “This agreement would be a leap forward in that crucial effort.”