Kawas v. Honduras – Protecting Environmental Defenders

Author: Lauri R. Tanner, Journal of Human Rights Practice, Published on: 3 November 2011

This policy note examines the reasoning and implications of the judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the milestone case of Kawas v. Honduras [regarding the shooting of Kawas following her activism against deforestation & logging]. In its first-ever ruling on environmental defenders, the Court found a positive obligation on the part of member states in the Hemisphere to protect environmentalists who are in serious jeopardy from human rights violations. The Kawas case is a paradigmatic example of the constant threats these activists encounter, both in the Americas and internationally, and states in the region are now on notice to ensure special protection to those most in danger of harm. The Court arrived at the remarkable juncture of ‘making visible and potentially punishable what heretofore has been invisible and unpunished’. [Registration required to access full article]

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