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Summary of the II Latin American Regional Workshop on Business and Human Rights

Author: Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, Published on: 12 November 2019

"Company lawsuits against human rights defenders, afro-descendant and indigenous communities and environmental defenders. Litigation challenges and protection and self protection measures", 26-28th September 2019

...In August 2018, the BHRRC organised a workshop in Colombia to analyse the challenges and opportunities that arise from the experiences of litigation of land and territorial rights, as well as intimidations and attacks against human rights defenders. 

Following on from this workshop we carried out a second workshop in September 2019 in Mexico in order to identify and strengthen defence strategies in favour of communities and land, territory and environmental defenders in Latin America, with particular emphasis on litigations by States and companies against lawyers and leaders which aim to silence them, cause burnout and fragmentation or to appease critics.  Many of these legal attacks occur as a result of criticisms by civil society for the direct or indirect participation of companies in human rights violations.

These Strategic Litigations against Political Participation (SLAPPs) were analysed in detail in the workshop.2 The workshop integrated environmental perspectives as well as indigenous, afro-descendant and women’s visions through the 70 participants from 15 countries across the region.3 Through group work, many similar trends were identified across the countries: the criminalisation of defenders, legal advances that lack implementation, strong presence of energy and extractive projects...

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