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Earth Rights Conference – Sigtuna, Sweden April 21-22, 2017

What idea is powerful enough to heal the relationship between humans and nature?

This conference will be a space for dialogue and co-creation about the idea that nature, not just humans, have rights. In a time of accelerating socio-ecological challenges, Earth rights is the focus of interest at different scales, from local communities to UN bodies. It is an ancient idea, present in indigenous cultures all around the world. Can Earth rights be the foundation of a new culture of respect and harmony between people and planet?

Earth Rights Conference - Sigtuna, Sweden, 2017Come to Sweden’s oldest town, Sigtuna, in April and investigate. For more details visit:  http://www.earthrightsconference.org/

Sigtunastiftelsen
Manfred Björkquists allé 4
193 31 Sigtuna
Sweden

WORKSHOPS FRIDAY

Advancing the Rights of Nature

This workshop with Mari Margil from Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) will provide a practical examination of the Rights of Nature – what it is; why and how it is advancing around the world; and strategies for advancing it at the local and national level in Sweden and other countries. This will include discussion on how existing environmental laws legalize the use and exploitation of nature, and how these frameworks are unable to protect nature.

Art for the Rights of Nature

To open up for the solidarity with all living beings, we need to open to a sensory, creative exploration of ourselves and the world. A mindful, intuitive workshop, where we explore our inner sense of music and rhythm, and practise interbeing. How can we create sounds, noise and gestures into a co-creative piece? How can we listen to our true selves and to the group at the same time? An adventure beyond words with Peder Karlsson and Annika Lykta.

Ecological Rights and Environmental Justice

Humans, as part of nature, share the rights of nature. We live together in interconnected and interdependent ways. This workshop will reflect on how rights of nature relate to human rights and environmental justice. The demands that human societies place on nature may imply an unequal distribution of rights in some cases. Moreover, rights that are beneficial to certain societies may or may not be beneficial for other societies or lives. By extension, rights for nature must entail different kinds of rights for different communities. How might rights of nature support non-exploitative, mutually nurturing relationships between people? This workshop includes a conversation between Stefania Barca, Martin Hultman, Cormac Cullinan and Marie Persson moderated by Marco Armiero, director of Environmental Humanities Laboratory at KTH.

Law & Ecological Awakening

This workshop explores ecocide law as an expression and agent of ecological awakening. Law influences our values and steers our behaviour; ecocide law will steer our behaviour towards ecological citizenship. Making ecocide an international crime could help humans reconnect to nature by the values they prioritize: people and planet above profit. Lawyer Femke Wijdekop explores connections between the promotion of Ecocide law and alignment of intellect, body and heart to act from a place of connection to Earth. Niklas Högberg, Lodyn, will guide the participants through a process of reconnecting to ourselves, each other and the planet.

WORKSHOPS SATURDAY

The International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature

Cormac Cullinan discusses how the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature is using the International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature to pioneer and experiment with alternative international and regional governance structures, and to provide a space for sharing experience about the damage done to nature. Next Tribunal is planned in Bonn, november 2017 in adjunction with COP 23.

Co-Creating a New Earth Rights Movement from the Inside Out – A truth and reconciliation process in every heart

To be an earth rights activist means to be a carrier of a new paradigm, a new story in which rights of nature is transformed from one of many ideas into shaping the context for our common future. This is a journey of deep re-learning that requires courage – the courage to face yourself, others, the world and nature in new ways. The courage to be, feel, think and act from the inside out. This journey can be viewed as a truth and reconciliation process in every heart, aimed at restoring balance in all our relationships. We will take part in an extraordinary testimony by the Giron Sámi Teáhter: Their own truth and reconciliation commission based on stories by the Sámi people who seek to recover after ages of colonization and oppression. In the workshop, indigenous rights are interweaved with Earth rights as well as the rights of all people to live in peace and balance with nature. We will explore what it means to empower ourselves and each other in our own healing journeys, as parts of a global eco-social movement connected by a common vision: The ancient and revolutionary idea of Earth rights. A focus of the workshop is the co-creation of a short Earth Rights Declaration by the participants. With Åsa Simma, CEO of Giron Sámi Teáhter, Marie Persson, Sámi activist and Niklas Högberg, Lodyn.

Earth rights and the role of native spiritual traditions

Indigenous and traditional cosmovisions have been a very important inspiration for the Rights of Nature movement from the start. The sacredness and interconnectedness of all life is the foundation whereupon indigenous cultures are built. Dominant paradigms of colonization and modernization through history and in present times have caused transformations and even loss of many spiritual traditions. In this sense decolonization of indigenous knowledge and spirituality become an important challenge. This workshop is a dialogue between Patricia Gualinga from the Sarayaku, an indigenous community in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and Henrik Hallgren, practitioner of Forn Sidr – the Scandinavian heathen tradition. The dialogue is expressed partly as a shared ceremony and partly as a verbal dialogue where all participants will be invited to share reflections.

The Nature of learning – Humanity and the More-than-Human world in Education

How do we embed questions of humanity and nature in our learning? How do we address the overarching crucial concepts and values that shape how we see our roles as humans? In this workshop we will discuss the importance of making questions on the relationship between humanity and nature a priority in education about/for sustainability. Facilitated by Isak Stoddard and Malin Östman, together we will explore possibilities and challenges for educators and students, drawing on experiences and pedagogical practice from the transdisciplinary, collaborative and student-centred courses at the Centre for Environment and Development Studies (CEMUS) at Uppsala University and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

UN Harmony With Nature Celebrates International Mother Earth Day April 21 2017

INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON HARMONY WITH NATURE IN COMMEMORATION OF INTERNATIONAL MOTHER EARTH DAY

THEME: EARTH JURISPRUDENCE

21 April 2017, United Nations HQ

Event: Interactive Dialogue of the General Assembly on Harmony with Nature in commemoration of International Mother Earth Day

For Programme click: Harmony with Nature Programme 10April2017

Theme: Earth Jurisprudence

Date: Friday, 21 April 2017

Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York City

Objective   –  For more information click: UN Harmony with Nature Concept Note 10April2017

The Dialogue will examine the key characteristics of, and implementation strategies for, an Earth-centred paradigm. It will advance the importance of the inclusion and application of Earth jurisprudence principles in the implementation of Agenda 2030 and all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Panelists will draw from the recommendations of the experts’ report from the 2016 virtual dialogue, showcase how Earth jurisprudence is currently being applied across different disciplines, and offer new Earth jurisprudence implementation strategies consistent with Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.  The Dialogue will explore how Earth-centred governance policies could ensure sustainable development patterns consistent with Earth jurisprudence principles.

Questions

  1. How can Earth jurisprudence help us to better implement the Sustainable Development Goals?
  2. What promising approaches and actions should be implemented, replicated or scaled-up to advance an Earth-centred approach to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals?
  3. How would a Universal Declaration on the Rights of Nature help guide implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals?

! SECURITY NOTE | PLEASE REVIEW CAREFULLY !

Guests without a valid UN Grounds Pass

To obtain a special event ticket, send an e-mail to Ms. Ariane Benrey at: hwndialogue2017@gmail.com indicating your first and last name as it appears on your valid government-issued ID. Your request should be received no later than Monday 17 April, noon.

Plan to arrive at the DC1 Building/One UN Plaza (located at the corner of 1st Avenue and 44th Street) between 8:30 and 9:45 am on Friday 21 April – to pick up your special event ticket to attend the Dialogue. Please pick up your special event ticket no later than 9:45 am. Colleagues will be holding signs with the name of the event. Kindly keep your special event ticket with you at all times.

  • Please carry a valid government-issued ID with you.
  • Please bear in mind that the passes are name-specific and non-transferable.
  • You will then go through a security screening similar to the airport. Please do not carry anything with you that you would not take through airport security.
  • Note that if you leave the UN grounds, you will need to be security screened again.
  • If for any reason you are not able to arrive to the UN premises before 9:45 am, please contact the focal point, Ms. Giovanna Maselli at (786) 901- 0070. She will kindly assist you with your event ticket.

Guests with a valid UN Grounds Pass

You do not need a special event ticket to access the Dialogue.

Broadcast: Live and on-demand webcast coverage to be available on the UN Web TV website at:

http://webtv.un.org

She is alive ~ Recognize Rights of Mother Earth

Sign our petition at http://petition.rightsofmotherearth.com

She’s our mother …
She’s worth loving …
She’s worth protecting …
She’s worth defending …

You can make a difference.  Take action now and be 1 of a million standing for the UN and all nations to recognize Rights of Nature ~ Rights of Mother Earth.

She is alive is being re-released with thanks to Vivek Chauhan, SanctuaryAsia, Greenpeace, and Timescapes for rights to use this video.

A blue and just future is possible

Maude Barlow’s keynote speech from the International Conference on Water, Megacities and Global Change, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, December 1, 2015

Maude Barlow opening UNESCO Water, Megacities and Global Change

In early December, the world turned its attention to climate talks in Paris.  At their international headquarters in Paris, UNESCO convened the Water, Megacities and Global Change  conference to the address the critical threats to water from climate change, especially in the world’s megacities. Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and international water expert was a keynote speaker at the opening ceremony on December 1.

“How do we start to talk about the crisis of water and megacities?” Maude asks. “With a critical examination of these and other policies that favour global markets over the lives of people and the health of ecosystems. And by confronting the tyranny of the 1% with the creation of a just global economy.

We can start with a new water ethic. Rather than seeing water as a resource for profit, we need to understand that it is the essential element in all living ecosystems. All policies and practices must be planned with the preservation of water at their core. Not only do we have to reject the market model for our water future, we must put ourselves at the service of undoing what we have done to the natural world and hope it is not too late.

Our current legal systems for protecting the environment are not working because they were not designed to do so. They view nature and water as our property. We need new universal laws that respect the integrity of ecosystems and allow other species than our own to fulfil their evolutionary role on Earth.”

Maude closes with stating possibilities, “Imagine a world in which water becomes nature’s gift to teach us how to live in peace with one another and dwell more lightly on this lovely planet. It is all possible. A blue and just future is possible.”

Read Maude Barlow’s complete speech (in English).

Barlow gives testimony on water at International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Paris

Later in the week, Maude presented as an expert witness on water at the International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Paris.

“Displacing water from where it belongs to where we want it is a major cause of climate chaos unrecognized by many scientists and environmentalists alike. This practice is also destroying whole water systems. Over half the major rivers in China have disappeared. By destroying forests and wetlands, we destroy the lungs and kidneys of our watersheds. Since 1900, the planet has lost two thirds of its wetlands. Every minute, 36 football fields of trees are clear cut. These are crimes against the rights of nature.”

In addition to Council of Canadians, Maude Barlow serves as Executive/Board member of other earth justice organizations including the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, Food and Water Watch, International Forum on Globalization, World Future Council and Movement Rights.  In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 17 books, including her latest, Blue Future: Protecting Water For People And The Planet Forever.

 

What are those Rights of Nature. You should know, aren’t you part of her …


“What we have forgotten is to give back some times. We think that exchanging money, or paying a bill with a plastic card, somehow makes us even in this exchange. But here today, we are going to share from the knowledges from both the natural world way, from the  view point of the Indigenous Peoples, from the view point of the scientists, from the view point of the lawmakers, from your heart, from your spirit ~ to those spirits around you.

We are going to share these knowledges of what are those Rights of Nature. And you should know, aren’t you part of her…”

Casey Camp-Horinek opening the International Rights of Nature Tribunal, Paris, France.  Across the City, the UN FCCC COP 21 was convening. View this powerful introduction video of the Tribunal from Paris.

You haven’t forgotten have you? And if you did, remember now. ~ Casey Camp-Horinek, (Ponca USA)

Produced by Clement Guerra, Director of the documentary film “The Condor & The Eagle”.

Nature’s rights and human rights : building legal, economic and social solutions to planetary crisis

Hosted by The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, NatureRights, EndEcocide on Earth, and Attac France, December 3, 2015, at A Place to B, Paris, France

Video of Nature’s rights and human rights : building legal, economic and social solutions to planetary crisis Conference. The video opens in French but many speakers are in English starting at 42 seconds with Cormac Cullinan and Natalia Greene.

The well-being of humans and nature are inextricably linked. Across the globe, we injure both people and ecosystems by treating the natural world as property to fuel incessant economic growth. These injuries have risen to the level of simultaneous violations, or “co-violations,” of human rights and nature’s rights. Many co-violations are fueled by our legal and economic systems, which legalize and even encourage environmental destruction for profit. This workshop will explore co-violation trends, especially with respect to mining and other extractive industries. It also highlights specific solutions, including recognition of the rights of nature and a robust climate change treaty. The workshop features the release of Earth Law Center’s comprehensive report on rights violations worldwide, “Fighting for Our Shared Future: Protecting Both Human Rights and Nature’s Rights.”

Introduced by Samanta Novella with Cormac Cullinan and Natalia Greene.

Other speakers include Geneviève Azam, Alberto Acosta, Patricia Gualinga, Cormac Cullinan, Tom Goldtooth, Shannon Biggs, Corinne Lepage, Koffi Dogbevi, Mireille Delmas-Marty, Emilie Gaillard Emilie, Osprey Orielle Lake, Yann Aguila, Laurent Neyret, Roger Cox, Marie-odile Bertella, Valérie Cabanes, Marie Toussaint, and  Vandana Shiva

 

UN Press Conference International Rights of Nature Tribunal

Prominent International Rights of Nature Tribunal Offers Earth-Driven, Not Market-Driven, Solutions to Climate Change

UN Press International Rights of Nature Press Conference

http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop21/events/2015-12-09-11-30-ithaca-college

In an extraordinary display of global solidarity, vision and determination, communities and organizations from all over the world took the initiative this past weekend to formally establish the Third International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature. People flocked to the Maison des Métallos in Paris to listen to more than 65 people from 32 nationalities[1] speaking in 7 languages[2] who participated as judges, Earth Defenders, or witnesses during the two days of Tribunal hearings. More than 600 people attended the hearings on each of the two days and hundreds more had to be turned away due to lack of space. Eight prominent cases demonstrated that human rights, indigenous rights and earth rights are inseparable and the recognizing rights of nature provides a viable path forward in creating the future we want.

The participants of the Tribunal showed the strong, united leadership so lacking at COP 21 by signing the People’s Convention that formally established the Tribunal and opened the way to the creation of Regional Tribunals throughout the world. The Tribunal bases its judgements primarily on the Universal Declaration for the Rights of Mother Earth and international human rights law, but also recognized ecocide as a crime. The judgements provide clear direction in each case on who is accountable and on what must be done to repair the harm and restore Earth (and communities) to health and well-being. While governments participating in the COP 21 are locked in tortuous negotiations over the wording of an agreement that will worsen the destruction of Mother Earth, the people of the world demonstrated in this way what genuine global collaboration and solidarity can achieve.

Compelling cases heard during the Tribunal include:

  • False Solutions related to Climate Change
  • Commercialization of Nature and REDD+
  • Genetically modified organisms
  • Defenders of Mother Earth
  • Hydraulic fracturing “fracking”
  • Megadams in Brazil
  • Oil in the Amazon: Yasuni-ITT and Texaco Chevron as Ecocide Cases

In addition, 5 new cases were accepted for subsequent Tribunal hearings.

Tribunal members and case experts presenting to members of the press include:

  • Osprey Orielle Lake, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, USA
  • Pablo Solon, Fundacion Solon, Bolivia
  • Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network, Turtle Island, USA

The distinguished judges constituted the International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Paris: President – Cormac Cullinan (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, and author of Wild Law- South Africa); Tom Goldtooth (Indigenous Environmental Network, Turtle Island – USA);
Alberto Acosta (Economist and former president of the Constitutional Assembly – Ecuador); Osprey Orielle Lake (Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network – USA); Terisa Turner (International Oil Working Group, Friends of the Earth – Canada, professor – Canada and USA); Felicio Pontes (Federal Prosecutor – Brazil)
Damien Short (Director Human Rights Consortium, University of London – UK); Attosa Soltani (Amazon Watch founder – USA);
Nnimmo Bassey (Health of Mother Earth Foundation / Oilwatch – Nigeria);
Ruth Nyambura (African Biodiversity Network – Kenya); Christophe Bonneuil (Historian of Sciences, CNRS, Attac – France);
Philippe Desbrosses (Doctor in Environmental Sciences, Farmer, Intelligence Verte – France); – Honorary Judge on December 4th Dominique Bourg (philosopher and author, University of Lausanne, Switzerland).

Ramiro Avila, environmental attorney form Ecuador, and Linda Sheehan, Executive Director of Earth Law Center, served as Co-Prosecutors for the Earth.

 

Hosted by: The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, www.TheRightsofNature.org

CONTACT:

Osprey Orielle Lake, osprey@wecaninternational.org

Natalia Greene +593 (0) 99944-3724/nati.greene@gmail.com

 

[1] Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belorussia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France Germany, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Romania, Slovakia South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom, USA, Venezuela.

[2] French, Spanish, English, Portuguese, Kichwa, Sapara, Rikbakstsá,

Tribunal Offers Earth-Driven, Not Market-Driven, Solutions to Climate Change

PRESS RELEASE 
Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature
Contact: Nature@theRightsofNature.org
Click for printable Paris Tribunal Press Release

International Rights of Nature Tribunal
Hears Cases for Mother Earth in Paris

Tribunal Offers Earth-Driven, Not Market-Driven, Solutions to Climate Change

Rights of Nature Tribunal photo by: Ken Wentworth for Greening Edenphoto by: Ken Wentworth for Greening Eden

“As we heard this morning, we will not bargain for the destruction of Mother Earth. We must insist on laws that recognize the inherent rights of nature. Any laws or conventions that aim for less must be rejected.” Linda Sheehan

Introduction

In an extraordinary display of global solidarity, vision and determination, communities and organizations from all over the world took the initiative this past weekend to formally establish the Third International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature. People flocked to the Maison des Métallos in Paris to listen to more than 65 people from 32 nationalities[1] speaking in 7 languages[2] who participated as judges, Earth Defenders, or witnesses during the two days of Tribunal hearings. More than 600 people attended the hearings on each of the two days and hundreds more had to be turned away due to lack of space.

International Rights of Nature Convening CeremonyIndigenous peoples from around the world played a leading role throughout the Tribunal as judges, experts and witnesses. One of the highlights was the signing by the legendary Chief Raoni of the Kayapo people of the Brazilian Amazon of the People’s Convention that formally established the Tribunal. The judges of the Tribunal were honored to reciprocate by signing documents confirming their support for the Alliance of Earth’s Guardians established by Chief Raoni and his delegation.

The participants of the Tribunal showed the strong, united leadership so lacking at COP 21 by signing the People’s Convention that formally established the Tribunal which opened the way to the creation of Regional Tribunals throughout the world. The Tribunal bases its judgements primarily on the Universal Declaration for the Rights of Mother Earth and international human rights law, but also recognized ecocide as a crime. The judgements provide clear direction in each case on who is accountable and on what must be done to repair the harm and restore Earth (and communities) to health and well-being. While governments participating in the COP 21 are locked in tortuous negotiations over the wording of an agreement that will worsen the destruction of Mother Earth, the people of the world in this way demonstrated what genuine global collaboration and solidarity can achieve.

The panel of Judges

The following distinguished judges constituted the International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Paris: President – Cormac Cullinan (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, and author of Wild Law- South Africa); Tom BK Goldtooth (Indigenous Environmental Network, Turtle Island – USA);
 Alberto Acosta (Economist and former president of the Constitutional Assembly – Ecuador); Osprey Orielle Lake (Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network – USA); Terisa Turner (International Oil Working Group, Friends of the Earth – Canada, professor – Canada and USA); Felicio Pontes (Federal Prosecutor – Brazil)
; Damien Short (Director Human Rights Consortium, University of London – UK); Atossa Soltani (Amazon Watch founder – USA);
 Nnimmo Bassey (Health of Mother Earth Foundation / Oilwatch – Nigeria);
 Ruth Nyambura (African Ecofeminists Collective – Kenya);
 Christophe Bonneuil (Historian of Sciences, CNRS, Attac – France);
 Philippe Desbrosses (Doctor in Environmental Sciences, Farmer, Intelligence Verte – France); – Honorary Judge on December 4th Dominique Bourg (philosopher and author, University of Lausanne, Switzerland).

Co-Prosecutors Linda Sheehan, Earth Law Center, USA and Ramiro Avila, Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar, (Ecuador) represented Mother Earth. Natalia Greene, Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (Ecuador) served as Secretariat.

Listening to Nature

The proposed solutions to climate change being presented at COP 21 are abstract, theoretical, market-driven, not Earth-driven, and motivated by self-interest. The approach at the hearings of the Tribunal couldn’t have been more different. Its findings were based scientific and other expert testimony, from the first-hand experiences of witnesses.  Decisions drew on scientific knowledge and the cosmovision, worldview and wisdom of indigenous peoples and local communities. The focus was on listening to Nature and was based on the recognition that Nature’s laws cannot be broken – an understanding that appears to be absent from COP 21.

The Tribunal opened and closed with deeply moving evocations of Mother Earth by indigenous peoples. They also presented testimonies that drew the Tribunal’s attention to dimensions ignored in the COP 21 negotiations, including the denial of the sacredness of the Earth, which must be considered along with its physical properties. Central to these dimensions was how patriarchal, dominating mind-sets and world views deny the sacred, and as a consequence, cause the creative feminine principle of Mother Earth to be attacked, resulting in the disruption of vital balances.

Nature is alive, she has the right to exist, to maintain natural cycles, to flourish and to constantly regenerate life. However most legal, economic and political systems treat Nature as an object which cannot have rights – as a slave to be used and exploited. Reverence for Nature is replaced with utilitarian and perverse views of Nature that seek to commodify and commercialize vital natural processes. This results in the climate crisis we and the Earth face today.

Findings of the Tribunal

The Tribunal’s findings are clear and strong – specific in who must be held accountable and why, and in the practical measures that need to be taken to solve the challenges faced by humanity. The Tribunal recognized that solutions do exist – communities and indigenous peoples have been applying these solutions and have been putting their bodies on the line to protect Earth for hundreds of years. We are living in an unequal world and the solutions need to be equitable.

“So the first point is inescapable.  This is a systemic issue and the responses must be systemic.

Secondly, if anyone came here with any doubts about whether or not human rights and the rights of nature are compatible, I think that they must have been dispelled. Everybody has demonstrated that they are inseparable. As Chief Seattle is reported to have said so long ago: ‘What befalls the Earth, befalls the children of the Earth.’”

Secondly, if anyone came here with any doubts about whether or not human rights and the rights of nature are compatible, I think that they must have been dispelled.  Everybody has demonstrated that they are inseparable.  As Chief Seattle is reported to have said so long ago: ‘What befalls the Earth, befalls the children of the Earth.’” Cormac Cullinan

The evidence presented at the Tribunal established beyond any doubt that human rights and the rights of Nature are inseparable, and that both are being systematically violated by systems based on arrogant delusions arising from the misconception that humans have the right and ability to dominate and exploit Earth. Evidence presented at the Tribunal also showed how indigenous understandings and knowledge complement scientific knowledge. It also demonstrated the extraordinary creative energies that are released when diverse peoples unite, inspired by a shared love of Earth, to find the solutions that humanity so desperately needs, especially at this moment in time.

Cases the Tribunal heard in Paris

Climate change

Former Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations, Pablo Solón led the presentation of the Climate Change case. The evidence showed why geo-engineering, nuclear energy, industrial and “climate smart” agriculture, biofuels, and the accelerated exploitation of fossil fuels are false solutions devised for corporate profit that will increase the damage to Earth. The Tribunal found that the rights of Nature are being systemically violated by climate change, mainly as a consequence of the acts and inaction of governments and international organizations (including the United Nations), the legal, economic and political systems that they have established, and the activities of a relatively few companies. The Tribunal closed the case and a written judgement will follow.

Commercialization of Nature

The case of financialization of Nature, presented by Ivonne Yanez was expanded from the previous Tribunals that before dealt only with REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). The Tribunal took note of the evidence that many more instances of the commodification and commercialization of Nature are emerging. These include biodiversity offsets, carbon offsets, (so-called) clean development mechanisms, and (so-called) smart agriculture. The Tribunal decided to keep the case open so that more evidence can be collected and presented – particularly with regard to the identity of the perpetrators.

Genetically modified organisms

Dr. Vandana Shiva led the presentation of this case which deals with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the agro-food industry. The Tribunal heard expert evidence from Ronnie Cummins, Marie Monique Robin, Andre Leu and José Bové; all of whom exposed the damage that GMOs and associated pesticides are doing to consumers, to animals and to soil. The Tribunal decided to keep the case open to hear additional evidence especially through regional Tribunals including in Asia.

Defenders of Mother Earth

Two cases of Defenders of Mother Earth were heard in the Tribunal: (1) the criminalization of Defenders in Ecuador and (2) the persecution of Defenders who protest against the pollution in Houston, Texas arising from fossil fuels and chemical contamination. The judges ratified the principle that the Tribunal would defend the Defenders of Mother Earth and hear further cases where necessary. It condemned the Government of Ecuador’s criminalization of Defenders of Mother Earth in that country, and demanded the restitution of human rights, liberty and the re-opening of closed institutions in Ecuador. The Tribunal closed the Ecuador case but kept the Texas case open in order to gather new evidence.

Fracking

The Tribunal had already conducted hearings about global fracking at its previous sessions in Quito and Lima. The Tribunal heard evidence from witnesses about the damage that fracking is causing in Argentina. Witnesses testified about how in the USA fracking is “breaking the bones of Mother Earth”, causing earthquakes and widespread suffering of the people who inhabit lands that are being sacrificed to “unconventional oil extraction”. The Tribunal confirmed that fracking results in a range of serious violations of the rights of Nature. After hearing the new evidence presented in Paris, the judges decide to close this case but recognized this is an ongoing threat that should continue to be examined by regional tribunals.

Mega dams in Brazil

Gert Peter Bruch and Christian Poirier presented the case of mega dams in Brazil, with the powerful testimonies of Antonia Melo, María Lucia Munduruku and Chief Raoni. The Tribunal condemned the building of Belo Monte and Tapajos mega dams and the planned construction of many more, which will cause horrific destruction of the Amazon and its inhabitants. It decided to leave the case open to hear additional evidence in a regional Tribunal in Brazil.

New cases accepted for hearing at subsequent sittings of the Tribunal

A number of new cases were presented to the Tribunal as probable violations of the Rights of Nature which justified being heard by the Tribunal in the future. The Tribunal accepted them all for further consideration and gave directions about how the cases should be developed.

The Corralejas case concerns the cruel killing of bulls in Colombia. The Tribunal found that there was clear evidence of torture and cruelty to animals in violation of the Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and asked that the case be widened to include other violation of animal rights for initial consideration by a regional Tribunal. The case of the community of Rosia Montana in Romania which has been threatened by proposed gold mining was accepted with the direction that it be widened to consider other examples of destructive mining practices. The depletion of marine life was accepted with the request that more specific information be presented about the identity of the main perpetrators. The Shell case in Nigeria was accepted and the violence in the area was condemned with the recommendation that consideration be giving to establishing a regional tribunal to conduct hearings. Finally, the case on the oil sands in Canada was accepted and the Tribunal observed that there was evidence that this may be one of the most dangerous instances of ecocide on the planet.

Ecocide cases

The Tribunal also re-considered two cases that it had previously heard. The objective of the reconsideration was to determine whether in addition to being violations of the Declaration, there was also evidence that the two cases were examples of the international crime of ecocide. (Severe violations of the Rights of Nature may also qualify as ecocides, because they constitute crimes against humans and the planet.)

The Tribunal re-examined the Yasuní case (which involves proposed oil exploitation in a national park in the Ecuadorian Amazon) and Chevron case (which involves responsibility for rectifying huge damage to the Amazon caused by Texaco/ Chevron) from the perspective of ecocide. The Tribunal found that the Chevron case was one of the worst instances of ecocide perpetrated on the Amazon and that restorative justice should be applied. In preparing the written judgment, consideration would be given to whether or not Chevron itself should be liquidated and its assets used to restore the damage. It noted that individuals, such as the directors of Chevron and corrupt government officials, could also be criminally liable in their personal capacity for ecocides.

Regarding Yasuní, the Tribunal decided that it would be appropriate to issue a directive prohibiting future exploitation of the Yasuni oil as a measure to prevent ecocide.

General findings and comments

The International Rights of Nature Tribunal recommends that the Rome Statute be amended to enable perpetrators of the crime of ecocide to be prosecuted before the International Criminal Court (ICC),

The Tribunal strongly supported keeping fossil fuels in the ground (keep the oil in the soil, the coal in the hole, the gas under the grass and the tar sands in the land) as an essential approach to prevent further harm to Nature.

In regards to Ecuadorian President Correa’s call for the establishment of an Environmental Justice Tribunal, this Tribunal made the point that the people of the world had already done so by establishing the existing International Tribunal on the Rights of Nature. It called on governments to provide support for Peoples’ Tribunals. It called on President Correa to publicly support and help implement the judgements of the Tribunal concerning cases in Ecuador (Yasuni, Chevron and the criminalization of Defenders of Mother Earth).

The Tribunal commended the pursuit of the Rights of Nature cases that have been won in Ecuador and the use of local ordinances and other documents that recognize the rights of Nature in the USA, as effective means of stopping destruction such as fracking, and recommended that these approaches be considered elsewhere in the world.

The Tribunal noted that the only mention in the official COP21 texts of the integrity of ecosystems, Mother Earth and indigenous peoples (paragraph 10) was in danger of being eliminated. The Tribunal strongly condemned this shocking failure to address the real drivers of climate change. It highlighted the fact that the magnificent testimonies presented to the Tribunal proved beyond doubt that the rights of Mother Earth are being systematically violated.

The Tribunal condemned the violence, produced by terrorism and exacerbated by climate change. We need to make peace with Mother Earth to achieve peace among peoples.

Next steps

Judgments will be written and published for all closed cases, as was done and presented in Paris for the Great Barrier Reef and the Yasuní Case. The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature will be a hub for accepting the submission of new cases and for providing guidelines, documents, assistance and intellectual support and training to expand the initiative to recognize the Rights of Nature worldwide.

The Tribunal calls on all communities and organizations that share its vision:

  • to become parties to the Peoples’ Convention on establishing the International Rights of Nature Tribunal;
  • to establish more regional tribunals under the umbrella of the International Tribunal; and
  • to take creative action to support the implementation of its judgements.

The Paris Tribunal was hosted by the Global Alliance of the Rights of Nature in partnership with End Ecocide on Earth, NatureRights & Attac France.

[1] Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belorussia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France Germany, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Romania, Slovakia South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom, USA, Venezuela.

[2] French, Spanish, English, Portuguese, Kichwa, Sapara, Rikbakstsá,

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