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UN Human Rights Council Adopts a Resolution to Recognize the Contribution of Environmental HRDs to The Enjoyment of Human Rights.

In a resolution (A/HRC/40/L.22/Rev.1) on recognizing the contribution of environmental human rights defenders to the enjoyment of human rights, environmental protection and sustainable development, , the Council expresses grave concern at the situation of environmental human rights defenders around the world, and strongly condemns the killing of and all other human rights violations or abuses against environmental human rights defenders, including women and indigenous human rights defenders, by State and non-State actors; and calls upon States to take appropriate, robust and practical steps to protect women human rights defenders and to integrate a gender perspective into their efforts to investigate threats and attacks against human rights defenders.  The Council also calls upon States to implement the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including to develop a national action plan or other such framework, and to encourage, and where appropriate require, all business enterprises to carry out human rights due diligence, including with regard to human rights relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment; and encouragesthe Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders to continue to address the situation of human rights defenders, including good practices and challenges, in his work and reporting, including through collaboration and coordination with relevant United Nations agencies, organizations and mechanisms, the treaty bodies and other relevant special procedures, in accordance with the mandate.

Environmental human rights defenders contributed to making societies better, and should be seen as an asset, not a threat.  Their aim was to recognize the important role played by environmental human rights defenders in society.  The resolution was a comprehensive text reached via comprehensive and rich discussions with States and representatives from civil society.  Broad support across regions would play an important role in implementing the resolution.  As such, they had held five informal consultations, as well as numerous discussions of views.  The main elements of the resolution continued to confirm the importance of action to implement the 1998 Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.  It also called on States to refrain from actions that hindered their work, including reprisals or violence.

To empower environmental human rights defenders, actions were needed in a number of areas, including developing effective development mechanisms.  Indigenous peoples, those living in rural areas, marginalized communities, as well as women human rights defenders faced particular challenges that needed consideration.  The resolution also recognized the responsibility of business enterprises in respecting such human rights.  Read more about the resolution here: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24389&LangID=E

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