Open letter from civil society to world leaders: Put human rights at the centre of environmental policy
'Put human rights at the centre of environmental policy', 11 October 2021
"Respecting and protecting human rights and protecting the environment are inextricably linked. Yet while Heads of State from 88 countries have called to end siloed thinking in the Leaders Pledge for Nature, environmental policy-making still too often excludes or sidelines human rights.
Today we, the undersigned – a broad range of indigenous peoples’ organisations, civil society groups, including human rights, environmental and conservation organisations and human rights, land and environmental defenders, as well as academics and experts from the Global South and North – call on the world’s leaders to bring together human rights, environmental and climate in policy-making in order to secure a just, equitable and ecologically healthy world for all.
The reciprocal relationship between nature and people has existed since time immemorial, but it is now unbalanced. There are countless examples in all parts of the world of how forests, savannas, fresh water sources, oceans, and even the air itself, are being privatised, polluted and destroyed by industries such as agriculture, timber, pulp and paper, mining and oil and gas extraction. These and many other industries not only wreak destruction on Mother Earth, but they also have direct and devastating impacts on human rights. Indigenous peoples and local communities living in close proximity to the production, extraction and processing of raw materials suffer dispossession of their lands, impoverishment, deterioration of their health, and destructive impacts on their culture, among many other abuses. In turn, human rights, land and environmental defenders who seek to prevent these violations suffer threats, criminalisation and violent attacks, and increasingly, killings..."