World Environment Day – 5 June 2019

“Without fear of violence, intimidation or reprisals” – Protecting the work of environmental defenders

UNBANGKOK (5 June 2019) – On World Environment Day, the UN Human Rights Office Representative for South-East Asia, Cynthia Veliko, calls on all regional Governments to protect the ability of environmental defenders to freely exercise their rights without fear of violence, intimidation or reprisals:

“On World Environment Day, it is critical to recall the vital role of environmental human rights defenders in Asia in protecting and promoting the rights of those most affected by environmental degradation and climate change.

It has never been a more dangerous time to be an environmental activist, globally or in the region, and the level of violence they routinely face is alarming. Countries in South-East Asia regularly rank amongst the highest in the world for killings of environmental activists. Others face routine harassment, attacks, arrest and detention and criminalization of the important and courageous work they do to protect the world’s remaining natural resources, wildlife and land.

Many governments in the region have made impressive commitments to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, however a commensurate move is now required to turn these commitments into meaningful action through actively protecting environmental human rights defenders and the work they do in their respective countries.

We urge all regional Governments to support the landmark Human Rights Council resolution adopted in March 2019 and protect environmental defender’s ability to freely exercise their rights without fear of violence, intimidation or reprisals. Their work is absolutely essential to our collective achievement of the 2030 agenda.”

Check the Council´s resolution...