UK: Global Witness calls on govt. to act on pledge to support defenders in face of violence related to mining, oil & gas projects

Author: Ben Leather, Global Witness, Published on: 13 August 2019

"The UK has pledged to support human rights defenders – but will it follow through?", 07 Aug 2019

[UK g]overnment published...[a] statement could have an important impact on people who are defending human rights and the environment in the face of oppression, harassment and often deadly violence... [W]hether the UK government follows through on its pledge – to hold British businesses to account for their role in driving these abuses – will define what kind of country it wants to be in the future.  The document aims to shore up Britain’s...reputation as a champion of human rights by filling a potential gap in policy after Brexit. It commits the government to taking action to support human rights defenders “wherever they are in the world” – particularly when they are at risk from UK-backed business projects [and] singles out groups that are most vulnerable...such as journalists, indigenous communities and land and environmental defenders... [Our] latest research...shows at least three people were killed on average every week in 2018... In the face of this violence, the UK’s commitment to the people who are protecting our planet is more vital than ever. Significantly, the new guidelines...include a pledge that embassies will intervene directly when UK companies are implicated in...abuses [and] single out oil, gas and mining companies as industries that need particular oversight...

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