Regional Consultation with Environmental Human Rights Defenders
On 12-13 March 2014, URG hosted a regional consultation (Africa and Europe) for Environmental Human Rights Defenders (EHRDs). The consultation brought together 18 EHRDs from Africa and Europe, plus a number of organizations and experts, including the United Nations Independent Expert on human rights and the environment, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights defenders, the UN Special Rapporteur on toxic waste, OHCHR, Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch, WWF international, Article 19, Amnesty International, the International Service for Human Rights, Global Witness, UNEP, International Land Coalition, Earthjustice, Justlaw and Waterlex .
In the course of the consultation, the participants delivered personal testimonies and shared their experiences, opinions and expertise in order to pursue the following objectives: a) to understand the particular human rights situation of EHRDs and the inter-related challenges they face in asserting their human rights and protecting their natural environment b) to provide a platform for environmental human rights defenders to share their stories with each other and with organizations that can help protect their human rights; c) to identify the existing projects, mechanisms and good practices that can assist EHRDs; d) to identify and coordinate actions to support EHRDs with a group of interested collaborating partners. Information gathered at the consultation will contribute to and inform a major URG project designed to strengthen and protect the human rights of EHRDs. Further regional consultations for Asia and the Americas will be held later in the year.
Furthermore, at the end of the two day meeting, OHCHR and UPR Info delivered two training sessions to EHRDs on how to draft petitions for submission to Special Procedures, and on the functioning of the Universal Periodic Review.