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Environmental Defenders Under Threat: Addressing Human Rights Abuses and Environmental Destruction

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Land and environmental defenders across the world face threats, attacks, or fatal violence for protecting their land, rivers, forests, and communities from large corporations, paramilitary groups and their own governments.

Learn more: https://www.wri.org/events/2019/10/environmental-defenders-under-threat-addressing-human

Published in: Environment
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Environmental Defenders Under Threat: Addressing Human Rights Abuses and Environmental Destruction

  1. 1. ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENDERS UNDER THREAT: ADDRESSING HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION Photo Source: Erwin Mascarinas/Global Witness
  2. 2. IOM 2015 SPEAKER BIOS Carole Excell Acting Director, Environmental Democracy Practice, WRI, Director, Defending Land and Environmental Defenders Coalition Clemente Bautista Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, defender from the Philippines Dr. Yesid Blanco defender from Colombia Krystal Two Bulls Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against War & Voices of the Sacred, defender from the United States Ben Leather Senior Campaigner, Global Witness Land and Environmental Defenders Campaign Deborah Klepp Senior Advisor, Environment, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Keith Slack Director of Strategic Impact and Campaigns, EarthRights International
  3. 3. CAROLE EXCELL Acting Director, Environmental Democracy Practice, WRI, Director, Defending Land and Environmental Defenders Coalition
  4. 4. KEITH SLACK Director of Strategic Impact and Campaigns, EarthRights International
  5. 5. BEN LEATHER Senior Campaigner, Global Witness Land and Environmental Defenders Campaign
  6. 6. Who are land and environment defenders?
  7. 7. 2018 statistics of Land and Environmental Defenders Killed
  8. 8. What do we mean by criminalisation? Criminalisation takes many different forms. At its simplest, it means creating, changing or re-interpreting laws so as to make once legitimate activities illegal, and turn those doing them into criminals. Legal threats can be used by governments and companies to intimidate defenders, tarnish their reputations and lock them into costly court battles which hamper their work. New laws can be created to restrict or criminalise protest and freedom of expression. And existing legislation designed to stop terrorists or protect national security can be twisted and used inappropriately against defenders. These legal battles are generally heavily mismatched. Armies of well-paid lawyers often face off against farmers or indigenous leaders of remote communities, who may have little formal education or knowledge of their rights. Once charged, defenders are stigmatised publicly, branded as terrorists or criminals by their government and the media it often controls. Ultimately, criminalisation is another way in which defenders and their families are abused and intimidated by the people and institutions that are meant to protect them.
  9. 9. FIVE STAGES OF CRIMINALISATION 1. SMEAR CAMPAIGNS 2. CRIMINAL CHARGES 3. ARREST WARRANTS 4. ILLEGAL SHORTCUTS 5. MASS CRIMINALISATION
  10. 10. What can the USA do? •Holistic policies and mainstreamed practises •Embassies: proactive and consultative •Aid and assistance: transparency, accountability, leverage •Making US business part of the solution, not the problem
  11. 11. DUTERTE’S BROKEN PROMISES
  12. 12. UPDATED STATISTICS ON KILLINGS OF LAND AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENDERS • June 30 2016 – June 30 2019: at least 113 land and environmental defenders killed, compared to 65 in 3 years prior • 46% of the killings allegedly perpetrated by armed forces. • 36% of the murders are linked to agribusiness, 27% to mining. • 44% of the murders took place on Mindanao • 27% of the defenders murdered under Duterte's presidency were IPs.
  13. 13. U.S. action on the Philippines A. The US embassy – leading the way in meeting the challenge B. Kicking open the windows of opportunity: Department of Justice, HRD Bill, Pressure Points C. US aid: improving and implementing conditions D. Congressional action E. Leverage in multilateral for a (UN, IFIs) F. Civic support
  14. 14. CLEMENTE BAUTISTA Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, defender from the Philippines
  15. 15. Brandon Lee Indigenous Peoples advocate Climate Activist
  16. 16. Jimmy Saypan Farmer leader Anti-mining activist
  17. 17. Cris Heredia People’s Lawyer Anti-large scale mining activist
  18. 18. 225 Environmental defenders were killed from 2001 to 2018.
  19. 19. DR. YESID BLANCO Environmental and Human Rights Defender from Colombia
  20. 20. KRYSTAL TWO BULLS Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against War & Voices of the Sacred, Environmental and Human Rights Defender from the United States
  21. 21. DEBORAH KLEPP Senior Advisor, Environment, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

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