Environmental Human Rights Defenders

Around the world, human rights abuses against environmental and political activists, and defenders of territories and people’s collective rights, are committed daily. 

In the last few years, Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific’s member groups’ staff, activists, and supporters have been beaten, sued, kidnapped, bankrupted, defamed, jailed, and murdered for campaigning for environmental justice.

Environmental Human Rights Defenders are at risk because they are fighting against a system that exploits people and nature, concentrates wealth and power in the hands of a few, and has brought the planet to the brink of collapse. They have fought for collective human rights, and thus their own human rights are at risk or have been violated. We must support as well as protect them in their advocacies.

To keep Defenders safe, we call for the development of mechanisms to recognise the role of Defenders, protect them, and include them in relevant decision-making processes. We strive to respond rapidly in situations of violation or violence, according to the needs and wishes of the threatened community, with the aim of bringing perpetrators to justice. We fight alongside local groups and communities to prevent violence. We fight against corporate and State interests that promote these violations.

This work is linked to our international program work, including our demand for an internationally legally binding treaty on transnational corporations and human rights.

Listen to our special report on Real World Radio

Human rights abuses against environmental and political activists and defenders of territories and peoples’ collective rights are committed daily around the world. These are just some of the experiences from the Asia Pacific region.

“Solidarity from the friends of the earth family is very important for community and people that are under threat for fighting for their rights and defending their territory. It shows that they are not alone. Giving communities a voice to be heard in the outside world is very important.”
Nur Hidayati, WALHI, Indonesia

“We must change the system. We need to create sustainable societies and new relations between human beings and between human beings and nature based on equality and reciprocity. But to create these societies and assert people’s rights we need to increase people’s power. That means transforming our own economies, food and energy systems, based on genuine, radical and just democracies centered around people sovereignty and participation.”
Theiva Lingam, Sahabat Alam Malaysia – SAM, Malaysia

Internationalist Solidarity

The Friends of the Earth Internationalist Solidarity System serves to respond rapidly to violations and mobilise internationalist support for threatened peoples and communities, according to their needs and wishes.

Working on internationalist solidarity is the possibility to accompany struggles against injustice in any part of the world, feeling them as our own causes. We, as individuals, play an important role in organising ourselves for the transformation of our societies in pursuit of system change. Solidarity means standing up and mobilising against all forms of oppression, such as patriarchy, racism, colonialism, and against the violence exercised against our peoples that aim to take away our capacity to organise and struggle.

Concretising this solidarity means acting in an articulated way among social movements and organisations to demand social, environmental, economic and gender justice and to defend the sovereignty of peoples around the world. It means organising ourselves to raise our voices, denounce injustice and support in concrete ways those who suffer injustice, oppression, persecution and rights violations.

Friends of the Earth International believes that the only way to tackle the interconnected global crises of climate, biodiversity, food, economy, care, and values, is through system change, grounded in internationalist solidarity.

For more information contact:
Regional Program Coordinators
Email: foeapac_programmes@lists.foei.org

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