Defend the defenders

Environmental activism and the battle for the planet

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Indigenous peoples demonstrate after the murder of social leader and environmental activists Berta Cáceres. Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

In 2019, of all human rights defenders murdered worldwide, 40% were environmental activists. 


The Human Rights Council of the UN expressed grave concern at the situation of environmental human rights defenders around the world and condemned the killing of and all other human rights violations or abuses against them. Although those individuals and groups strive to peacefully protect and promote human rights relating to the environment, including water, air, land, flora and fauna, they are under acute threat. 

In this seminar, criminologist David R. Goyes and journalist Nina Lakhani meet to discuss Lakhani’s book ‘Who killed Berta Cáceres’, and so shed light on the work of and threats against environmental activists through the life of Berta Cáceres. Berta, in the words of Lakhani, ‘would be mostly remembered as an environmentalist who defended rivers [but] she was much more than that.’  Berta’s murder in 2016 triggered international condemnation and inspired environmental activists throughout the world.

Goyes and Lakhani will be joined by experts from across the world. This seminar seeks to increase the awareness of the lack of human rights of environmental defenders, and to build networks of solidarity around them.

Published May 29, 2020 9:31 AM - Last modified June 18, 2020 3:01 PM