Discussion: Environmental Justice - let's protect the justice defenders (Week 3)

This post is part of 10 Weeks of Action: Demanding funding and protection for grassroots justice defenders by calling on our the community to sign the #JusticeForAll petition. Each week, we will spotlight how access to justice is critical to the advancement of different thematic issues.

Last week, Global Witness launched a new report that revealed that at least 207 land and environmental justice defenders were killed last year trying to protect their communities from destructive industries.

No one should be at risk for protecting their communities from companies’ environmentally harmful —and often illegal— practices.

Despite worrying trends on attacks against environmental justice defenders, some progress is being made. Across #latinamerica environmental groups are demanding action, specifically targeted at protecting environmental justice defenders.

In March 2018, governments across Latin America and the Caribbean adopted this first ever regional binding treaty – the Escazu Agreement – to protect the rights of individuals and groups to access public information and participate in access to justice around environmental matters. More importantly, it enshrines the protection of environmental defenders. A number of global campaigning organizations, led by Amnesty International, with support from Justice For All, are calling on governments to ratify the agreement at the 2018 UN General Assembly. Learn more about the Agreement and take action.

Some governments have made progress towards ensuring the protection of environmental justice defenders.

  • The #philippines Supreme Court issued a special set of rules of court entitled “Special Rules on Environmental Cases” to prevent companies from threatening groups who reported violations against environmental regulation with defamation lawsuits.
  • In #indonesia the 2009 Environmental Law establishes that no one working for the right to an adequate and healthy environment may be accused of a criminal or civil offense.

No one should be at risk for protecting their communities from companies’ environmentally harmful—and often illegal— practices. Read more and take action.

Discussion Questions

  • What are some of the ways you and your organizations are working to protect environmental grassroots justice defenders?

  • How is your government responding to this issue?


@exchange_2018sierraleone - what have your governments done to protect grassroots justice defenders who are working with communities on environmental justice? Do you have priorities in mind that would make a difference in providing security to environmental justice defenders where you work?

1 Like

Many thanks for that message.

To be honest with you, our government actions defending grassroots are limited because of partisan, little awareness of most people about the existing country laws, the high rate of illiteracy, the willingness for people to stand for their legal rights is limited, corruption and poverty as well. If government together with civil societies work against injustice, forget about educating partisanship to the populace and print copies of legal empowerment laws for every community, legal empowerment campaigns for awareness. If the above problems addressed, in that respect Sierra Leone will attain to a reasonable peak.


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