co-violations of rights
READ ELC'S NEW REPORT ON CO-VIOLATIONS, 2016 UPDATE - FIGHTING FOR OUR SHARED FUTURE: PROTECTING BOTH HUMAN RIGHTS AND NATURE'S RIGHTS
(Access the print version here)
This report includes only some of the many co-violations occurring across the globe. We want more stories to be heard. Please submit your own information below for review.
Across the globe, governments and corporate entities are harassing, threatening, attacking, imprisoning, and killing defenders of environmental and human rights. Meanwhile, the natural world suffers from escalating threats such as species extinctions, toxic pollution, deforestation, mining, a rapidly changing climate, and many other onslaughts. Many of these harms rise to the level of “co-violations,” which occur when governments, industries, or both, violate both nature’s rights and human rights with the same action.
Recognizing this alarming trend, in 2015, Earth Law Center (ELC) released its report “Fighting for Our Shared Future: Protecting Both Human Rights and Nature’s Rights,” which examined and analyzed 100 such cases of co-violations of human and environmental rights. The report also made recommendations on how to establish a better future for people and planet.
Since then, a wave of new, increasingly violent cases of rights co-violations have swept across the globe. This includes acts of violence against two Goldman Environmental Prize winners: Berta Cáceres, who was murdered due to her advocacy with the indigenous Lenca people of Honduras against the Agua Zarca Dam and other “mega-dams” that destroy riparian ecosystems, and Maxima Acuña de Chaupe, who was viciously attacked in Peru for her opposition to gold mining within the an Andean tropical cloud forest. These co-violations indicate serious, systemic governance problems in which the “rights” of destructive industries outweigh the fundamental rights and well-being of rights defenders and the Earth.
What we do to the environment we do to ourselves. Human rights and nature’s rights are intertwined and co-dependent; by exploiting and destroying ecosystems and species, we also diminish the quality of human life.
2016 Co-Violations Report Findings
On International Human Rights Day (December 10, 2016) Earth Law Center released its second annual report detailing these and other co-violations of human rights and nature’s rights worldwide. The report analyzes another 100 cases – 200 in total – and highlights many chilling trends.
For example, 28 percent of human rights violations examined involved at least one murder. And 30 percent of examined cases involved harm to indigenous peoples’ rights, despite their comprising only five percent of the population. The recent rise in injustices toward environmental and human rights defenders was deemed a “truly global crisis” by U.N. Special Rapporteur, Michel Forst. Additionally, almost 60 percent of the cases resulted in biodiversity loss, underscoring a recent study alerting that the world is now on track to lose two-thirds of Earth’s animal life by 2020.
The report offers solutions on how to address these harms
ELC's co-violations report includes calls to:
- recognize the fundamental rights of nature, such as through U.N. adoption of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth;
- create a comprehensive system to receive information on, monitor, and act upon co-violations to ensure prevention and reparation;
- formulate an international treaty to prevent and address co-violations by transnational and national business enterprises;
- ensure full participation and consultation with affected communities; and
- provide emergency protection to at-risk environmental defenders
What you can do to report a co-violation
(1) You can submit alleged rights violations to the United Nations Special Rapporteurs, who accept and act upon information and send communications to the affected States. Submission procedures for the Special Rapporteurs can be found online at https://spsubmission.ohchr.org.
(2) You can submit cases through Earth Law Center’s online submission form. We will review your case, post it to our online map, and bring awareness through social media. ELC’s co-violations submission form can be found below.
(3) Affected communities can also reach out to other organizations working to bring awareness to and address co-violations including the Global Witness, Environmental Justice Organizations, Liabilities and Trade (EJOLT), The Gaia Foundation, and Yes to Life No to Mining Campaign.
- ELC, 2016 Update - Fighting for Our Shared Future: Protecting Both Human Rights and Nature's Rights (Dec. 2016)
- ELC, Fighting for Our Shared Future: Protecting Both Human Rights and Nature's Rights (Dec. 2015)
- Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth (April 2010)
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Dec. 1948)
- Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Sept. 2007)
- United Nations, "Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders," A/71/281 (3 August 2016)
- Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade (EJOLT) Project, “Global Atlas of Environmental Justice,” interactive mapping platform detailing 1000 environmental conflicts globally.
- Global Witness, "Deadly Environment" (2014), describing the rising threats to environmental and land rights advocates worldwide.
- Global Witness, "How Many More?" (April 2015), detailing the sharp increase in killings of environment and land defenders (as the report went to press, three defenders were killed in the space of three days)
- Global Witness, “On Dangerous Ground” (June 2016), finding that 2015 was the deadliest year yet for environmental defenders, with over three environmental defenders killed each week on average.
- “Yes to Life, No to Mining” campaign, helping helps people fighting devastating mining operations in their communities
- Step-by-step guide to protecting your community from mining and other extractive industries.
SUBMIT INFORMATION ON ADDITIONAL CO-VIOLATIONS
ELC invites the public to submit information on additional co-violations. Please include a summary below, including any relevant links, and we will review the case promptly.