Earth Day is April 22 and the week around it is a time for community celebrations and events focusing on pressing environmental issues facing our world.
One of those issues that is a top priority for Amnesty International is the growing numbers of attacks, many of them deadly, against environmental human rights defenders whose efforts to defend the rights of their communities to a healthy environment put them on a collision course with powerful economic interests. The killing of iconic river defender Berta Caceres in Honduras is but one of countless examples.
The UN’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, has sounded warning bells and identified Latin America as one of the most dangerous regions of the world for environmental human rights defenders. Amnesty’s Speak Out platform shows that legitimate struggles throughout the Americas against the environmental impact of mines, monoculture plantations, illegal logging and irresponsible infrastructure projects like big dam projects, developed without meaningful consultation or free, prior and informed consent, often lie at the heart of the violence. That is especially true in Indigenous territory and in areas where environmental regulation and the rule of law is weak or non-existent.
This year, in honour of Earth Day, Amnesty International Canada will be sharing powerful photo stories created with environment defenders in Latin America who face grave danger for their efforts to protect forests and rivers so vital to the communities they represent. The goal of the photo stories is to inspire solidarity action to support these defenders so they can continue their important, legitimate work. After all, that work protects the earth we all share.
- Mark the week of April 22 in your calendars and explore what is going on in your community or at a local school that might provide an opportunity for tabling, a photo exhibit, a public presentation or other ways to raise awareness and engage solidarity action.
- Download these posters to put up in your community around Earth Day or to use for tabling
- Collect signatures on our petitions:
- Share a 3-minute video: Berta’s Daughters Speak The daughters of murdered Lenca earth defender Berta Cáceres share powerful words about their struggle to protect water, Indigenous rights and the lives of their people.
- Contact campaigner Kathy Price if you would like a power point with powerful photos of earth defenders and their inspiring words for use in an event
Thank you for taking action starting this April, in solidarity with earth defenders!