UN launches Environmental Rights Initiative

Almost four environmental defenders are said to be killed per week – with the true total expected to be higher – and many more harassed, intimidated and forced from their lands

Pathway to COP26 report

The UN has launched a new initiative to take a stand against the “ongoing threats, intimidation, harassment and murder” of environmental defenders around the world.

The Environmental Rights Initiative aims to help people to understand how to defend their rights and assist governments to better safeguard environmental rights.

UN Environment is also calling on the private sector to “move beyond a culture of basic compliance” to one where the business community champions the rights of everyone to a clean and healthy environment.

Environmental rights are incorporated in more than 100 constitutions, however in January 2018, Global Witness documented almost four environmental defenders are being killed per week – with the true total expected to be higher – and many more harassed, intimidated and forced from their lands.

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment said: “Those who struggle to protect planet and people should be celebrated as heroes but the sad fact is that many are paying a heavy price with their safety and sometimes their lives.

“It’s our duty to stand on the side of those who are on the right side of history. It means standing for the most fundamental and universal of human rights.”

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