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Open Letter: Open letter from civil society to consumer goods companies re: concerns over SLAPPs by palm oil company in Ecuador

At the end of 2019, afro-descendant community members from Baranquilla de San Javier in Ecuador held peaceful protests to demand that palm oil company Energy & Palma to withdraw from their

The protests were violently repressed, and Energy & Palma filed a legal complaint against the community leaders, demanding US$320,000 in compensation. Four land rights defenders from Baranquilla have also been ordered to pay $151,000 to the palm oil company. 

This open letter calls consumer goods companies to disclose and explain its process of supply chain due diligence with regards to Energy & Palma. 

Read the Full Open letter here in English and Spanish

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Online Tool: Earth Defenders Toolkit

The Earth Defenders Toolkit is a collaborative space for earth defenders and their allies. The Toolkit provides a growing collection of resources and training materials for communities on the frontlines of the struggle to defend critical ecosystems around the world, and community networks for users to connect and share their experiences.

The mission of the Earth Defenders Toolkit is to provide and promote approaches to using technology in a way that supports local autonomy and ownership over tools and data, and reduces reliance on outside support.

Visit the initiative's website and access the toolkit

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Report: We mean business: protecting women’s rights in global supply chains

Identifying, addressing and holding companies to account for the impacts of their activities on women needs to be embedded in due diligence legislation and wider business and human rights policies and strategies, or we risk adopting measures that will leave women behind. ActionAid's paper explains why such an approach is needed, and how states and companies can integrate gender-responsive human rights due diligence into existing and emerging efforts in the area of business and human rights, from garment factories in Bangladesh to mining projects in Nicaragua and Zambia, to agricultural investments in Guinea Bissau, Guatemala and Malawi.

Read the paper from ActionAid

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Database: 2020 Snapshot - Attacks against human rights defenders linked to business activities are rising

This snapshot covers the annual findings from the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre database of attacks against human rights defenders which  includes over 2000 cases of judicial, physical and lethal attacks, highlights some of the key positive steps that companies and investors have recently taken to address these attacks and reprisals, and summarises the recommendations to these actors.

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Open letter: Human Rights Defenders are a cornerstone of sustainable development

Human Rights Defenders face greater risk of retaliation and violence than ever before, especially those working in defence of land, environmental and indigenous peoples’ rights. While development interventions can be a powerful tool for the realisation of human rights, too often activities undertaken in the name of development fail to adequately consider human rights conditions and impacts, and end up exacerbating the risks for defenders.

Read the article from Forest Peoples Programme

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Report: Community-led Collective Protection through Community Protocols

The purpose of this write up is to contribute to an effort to compile resources helpful in increasing community resilience and protection. The more resilient a community, the better they can respond and recover from their adversities. Ideally, these resources aim to strengthen community resilience so that they may be able to hold economic and State actors into account better and better protect themselves and their members from threats, incursions, intimidation and criminalization. This write-up will focus on the community protocols of indigenous communities in the State of Sabah, Malaysia.

Visit the initiative's website or read the report

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Article: Deforestation an attack on the human rights of forest peoples

This article, written by Hipólito Acevei of FAPI and Gam A Shimray of AIPP, highlightings the importance of including indigenous peoples rights in proposals for deforestation regulation. 

"What is needed now - and urgently - is a truly integrated environmental and human rights approach that protects, respects and secures our collective land and territorial rights as indigenous peoples."

Article in Spanish available here

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Statement: Meaningful provisions on the rights of indigenous peoples and communities essential for any EU Legal Corporate Duty

ZTI members form part of a coalition of organisations calling for an early inclusion of rightsholders in the legislative process, a law that ensures access to justice and the right to an effective remedy, as well as robust safeguards for human rights defenders and whistle-blowers.

This post is one of a series of perspectives on Mandatory Due Diligence published by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre during the German EU Council presidency. 

Read the statement on the BHRRC website here

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Video: Deforestation in the Amazon: the cost for indigenous people

Besides its grave climatic impacts, deforestation in Brazil is also threatening the rights and lives of indigenous peoples with conflicts over resources in the Amazon resulting in more than 300 killings in the past decade. Indigenous peoples' representatives travelled to Europe to share their experiences. They called on investors to take action and engage with investee companies so that they respect indigenous peoples’ rights, improve product traceability and conduct meaningful stakeholder engagement with indigenous peoples.

Watch the video from PRI

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Report: Uncalculated Risks - Threats and attacks against human rights defenders and the role of development financiers

Through 25 case studies, Uncalculated Risks explores the nature of the threats and attacks against defenders in development, and examines the role of development finance institutions in mitigating or exacerbating these risks.

Read the research from the Coalition for Human Rights in Development

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Report and briefing: Enough! Pledging zero tolerance to attacks against environmental and human rights defenders

Environmental and human rights defenders face significant and growing risks, experiencing violence, intimidation and criminalisation as a result of their efforts. This research critically assesses the various initiatives, led by states, intergovernmental bodies, the private sector and development finance institutions that seek to protect environmental and human rights defenders. It highlights the limitations of these initiatives, and argues that the knowledge, experiences and priorities of the defenders themselves have not been adequately included in the design of protection mechanisms and approaches.

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Report: Business and Human Rights Defenders in Colombia

Colombia’s economy is dominated by land-intensive industries where operations often bring significant human rights risks. This makes the work of human rights defenders (HRDs) and civil society critical to bringing shared prosperity, freedom and sustainability.

Defenders who seek to prevent or expose abuse by businesses face concerted and sometimes deadly attacks. This report examines the relationship of business to attacks on human rights defenders in Colombia between 2015 and 2019. Colombia is the second most dangerous country in the world for attacks on HRDs working on business issues, hosting 9% of all cases globally.

Read the report from the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

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Report: Deforestation Dividends - How global banks profit from rainforest destruction and human rights abuses

This new ground-breaking investigation from Global Witness reveals for the first time how much financial institutions in the UK, EU, US and China could have made from deals with 20 agribusiness firms linked to deforestation and related abuses. HSBC, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, Rabobank and Bank of China are among the worst offenders, and covered in case studies in the report. 

Read the full Report: Deforestation Dividends

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Report: Defending Tomorrow: The climate crisis and threats against land and environmental defenders

For years, land and environmental defenders have been the first line of defence against climate breakdown. Yet despite clearer evidence than ever of the crucial role they play, far too many businesses, financiers and governments fail to safeguard their vital and peaceful work. Global Witness's annual report into the killings of land and environmental defenders in 2019 shows the highest number yet have been murdered in a single year. 212 land and environmental defenders were killed in 2019 – an average of more than four people a week.

Read the report from Global Witness

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Video: It's time to protect environmental rights defenders!

Video: Time to protect environmental rights defenders! Environmental rights defenders are the most at risk group of human rights defenders. Because they oppose mega-projects that harm Nature and local communities, they face major risks, individually and collectively. If we do not protect these defenders, who will fight for the future of our planet? It is time to protect human rights defenders and to join their struggle for a better world. Watch the video from the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders.

Watch the video from the UN Special Rapporteur on environmental rights defenders

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Outcome document: Defending the defenders

Human rights defenders are dying, attacked and criminalized all over the world. This is happening at an increasingly alarming rate. In 2017, over 400 people were killed while protecting their community’s land or natural resources. Approximately half of these were indigenous peoples. The conference aimed to understand why in particular and increasingly indigenous peoples from developing countries are being killed or persecuted. The conference examined the key drivers behind this global phenomenon and discussed context-specific cases, and what can be done to change the current situation. 

Read the conference report from IWGIA

Read the conference report from IWGIA

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Accountability Framework Initiative: Delivering on ethical supply chain commitments

The Accountability Framework provides a common roadmap for setting, implementing, and monitoring ethical supply chain commitments in agriculture and forestry. These norms reflect the consensus of a diverse coalition of respected conservation and human rights NGOs from around the world. They were developed in close consultation with the private sector and other key stakeholders to establish a harmonised global reference that is applicable across commodities and regions.

Visit the initiative's website