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6 Dec 2021


CIVICUS: New report exposes increasing restrictions on environmental activism and attacks on civil society opposing corporate abuses

"Defenders of our planet: Resilience in the face of restrictions ", November 2021

Around the globe, activists and communities – among them young people, women, Indigenous groups and environmental and land defenders – are mobilising, including through civil disobedience and symbolic actions, to demand climate and environmental justice. Civil society organisations (CSOs) are also ensuring that the needs of excluded and adversely affected populations are factored into decision making and partnering with governments in implementing green solutions.

People are protesting over fossil fuel industries, which include oil, gas and coal and are the biggest contributor to carbon emissions. While these industries are headquartered in the global north, their impacts are felt the most at the sites of extraction in the global south. In South Sudan, in August 2020 people who live near the Palouch and Melut oil fields in the Upper Nile regions blocked the entrances of two oil companies and closed roads in the local area to bring attention to the environmental damage being caused by oil operations. Similar protests took place in Ecuador and Tunisia. Protests have also been staged over construction and mining projects which disrupt natural habitats such as rivers and oceans and their eco-systems. Around the world, many young people have taken to the streets to demand that their governments commit to tackling the climate crisis...

As the climate crisis intensifies and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbate social and economic inequalities, the efforts of civil society are fundamental if we want to achieve tangible results and systematic change. But we face profound barriers. Not only are governments and businesses failing to take urgent steps to mitigate the climate crisis; they are also actively trying to silence activists, disrupt and prevent climate actions and repress environmental, land and Indigenous rights defenders and others pushing for a better future...