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7 Mai 2024

People power under pressure: Human rights defenders & business in 2023

Syndi Pilar, Shutterstock (licensed)

In 2023 people across the globe took to the streets demanding governments protect their and future generations’ right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. Scientific evidence shows humanity is exceeding most of the planetary boundaries within which we can develop and thrive for generations to come, driven by an economic paradigm grounded in profit maximisation and unsustainable resource extraction and consumption. The triple planetary crisis – climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss – threatens all our rights. Through engaging in direct action, protecting their lands and territories from fossil fuel projects, reporting about pollution and filing lawsuits against companies for environmental damage, human rights defenders (HRDs) continue to assert that true climate justice can only be achieved when human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. Listening to HRDs is vital to understanding the risks and harms associated with business activity and to ensuring the transition to green economies is just and benefits workers, environmental defenders and their communities.

Despite this, in 2023 we recorded 630 instances of attacks against people raising concerns about business-related harms. This is part of a consistent, ongoing pattern of attacks against HRDs protecting our rights and planet globally, with more than 5,300 attacks recorded since January 2015.

Annual Analysis

Read the briefing