A silent war is being waged against the indigenous people and local communities who are defending their lands against the expansion of industry. Environmental and human rights defenders face significant — and growing — risks, experiencing violence, intimidation and criminalisation as a result of their efforts. This report and briefing 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 finds that most stated commitments have not, yet, been borne out by concrete actions, and that the knowledge, experiences and priorities of the defenders themselves have not been adequately included in the design of protection mechanisms and approaches. Given that, it sets out why a Zero Tolerance Pledge is needed to not only set new standards and expectations for honouring the rights of environmental and human rights defenders, but to put defenders themselves at the centre of the development of solutions to the challenges they face.