Defending the defenders

December 2021

Center for Environmental Concern

Environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) are defined by the United Nations as "in individuals and groups who, in their personal or professional capacity and in a peaceful matter, strive to protect and promote human rights relating to the environment including water, air, land, flora and fauna." EHRDs in the Philippines have protected 1.8 million hectares of seascapes and 4.4 million hectares of landscapes. They have advocated for sustainability, inclusivity and genuine development in terms of natural resource management. Despite their valuable contribution to social and ecological development, EHRDs have experienced civil-political human rights violations including harassment intimidation and killings. In fact, environmental watchdog, Global Witness, names Philippines among the most dangerous countries for environmental defenders.

Supported by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Southeast Asia Manila, the Center for Environmental Concerns, produced multimedia materials to raise public awareness on the situation of EHRDs, especially those from vulnerable groups (i.e. farmers, indigenous peoples), and their importance in the movement for ecological justice and social transformation. By popularizing the plight of EHRDs that are often sidelined in mainstream media reporting, CEC calls the attention of the public and gathers support for greater recognition and institutional protection of EHRDs.


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