Climate, land and environment

Land, climate and environment

Climate, land and environmental rights defenders work against the clock to address the climate crisis and help us all live on a healthy, sustainable planet.

Human rights defenders are at the forefront of protecting their communities, the environment and key natural resources that maintain the balance in our planet. A balance that is under worsening threat. Data is clear: there is a trend of increasing attacks against human rights and environmental defenders across all regions. Globally, 604 attacks on activists working on business-related human rights issues were recorded in 2020, despite or because of the vital work they are doing so that their communities can live on their land in a healthy, sustainable manner. 

Many attacks on human rights defenders are linked to business activities, with private actors either directly perpetrating the abuses or failing to act against imminent and predictable business-related harm. The situation is especially concerning in the extractives and agribusiness sectors.

Demand for natural resources is at an all-time high and continues to grow, while environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity advances. At this pace, if the global population continues to grow as predicted, by 2050 we would require three planets to provide the natural resources that currently sustain our way of living. Economic sectors linked with the exploitation of natural resources tend to be at the forefront of human rights abuses globally, such as extractive, oil and gas or those businesses linked to sectors fueling the so-called fourth industrial revolution, such as batteries or solar panels. 

Moving towards a zero-carbon economy becomes indispensable. However, this transition should not be encouraged at the expense of human rights or harm to local communities.  The transition towards renewable energy sources is an opportunity to address serious socio economic issues, but it has also become a threat to human rights, as abuses linked to renewable energy projects are becoming increasingly frequent.

Latest updates

Check out all the latest updates to this topic

Kenya should strengthen its legal framework protecting defenders

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) examined the combined report of the 12th and 13th periodic reports of the Republic of Kenya during the virtual session held from 21 April to 13 May 2022. The report presents the progress made by the country regarding the state of human rights in Kenya.

Defenders in Nigeria strategise for better protection of their rights

On 29 and 30 April 2022, Nigerian civil society met in Abuja during a workshop co-organised by ISHR and Development Dynamics to discuss and strategise on ways to reduce legislative restrictions which impair the work of defenders and to strengthen legislative protections to support, safeguard and enable their work.

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