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Archive for Movement Rights

When Rivers Hold Legal Rights

See full article in Earth Island Institute
by Shannon Biggs of Movement Rights– April 17, 2017

New Zealand and India recognize personhood for ecosystems

Winding its way through dense forest laced with hidden waterfalls, the Whanganui River is the largest navigable river in Aotearoa, the Māori word for New Zealand. With the passage of the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Bill in March, the river became the first water system in the world to be recognized as a rights-bearing entity, holding legal “personhood” status. One implication of the agreement is that the Whanganui River is no longer property of New Zealand’s Crown government — the river now owns itself.

When Rivers Hold Legal Rights, Earth Island Institute Photo by Kathrin & Stefan Marks

In March, the Whanganui River in New Zealand became the first water body in the world to receive legal personhood status. Photo by Kathrin & Stefan Marks

Five days after the Te Awa Tupua Bill, the High Court of Uttarakhand at Naintal, in northern India, issued a ruling declaring that both the Ganga and Yumana rivers are also “legal persons/living persons.” But what does it mean for a river, or an ecosystem to hold rights? The answer may vary from place to place.

Read full article …

 

About the author:

Shannon Biggs
Shannon Biggs is the Executive Director of Movement Rights, advancing rights for Indigenous peoples, communities, and ecosystems. She is also the co-founder of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and the co-editor of the book, The Rights of Nature: The Case for the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.

WE ARE ALL RELATED: Working together to fight fossil fuels

Pennie Opal Plant, LUSH Blog, May 2016
Author Pennie Opal Plant -Yaqui, Mexican, English, Choctaw, Cherokee and European leader and Ponca elder and tribal councilwoman, Casey Camp Horinek

Author Pennie Opal Plant is of Yaqui, Mexican, English, Choctaw, Cherokee and European ancestry. She’s been an activist for over 30 years on anti-nuclear, environmental and indigenous rights, and has been a lecturer with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. Pennie is also a founding member of Idle No More San Francisco Bay, is involved in promoting the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth, and founded Gathering Tribes in 1991.

As I write this, I’ve just returned from seeing my niece’s newborn baby girl. As I gazed into her eyes, I said a silent prayer hoping we can find a way to shift the systems of government and business that have allowed the sacred system of life to become so out of balance that everything is now threatened. I also prayed that when she’s an adult that she’d live in a world that’s healthy, sustainable, vibrantly beautiful…and in balance.

“We are all related.” No doubt you’ve heard this phrase before, especially if you have friends who are Indigenous to North America. It has many meanings to many people, but ultimately it means that all of life on Mother Earth’s belly is related or connected. After more than 500 years of Indigenous People of the Americas sharing this information, it’s finally been proven. It’s past time for the western world to listen to the Indigenous People who are traditional and doing their best to live within the Original Instructions, guidelines given to people at the beginning of time, which dictate how to live in balance with our relations and the intelligent forces of nature. It would be a shame for humans to continue to violate these instructions to such an extent that life, as we know it can no longer be supported.

For the complete article visit: WE ARE ALL RELATED: Working together to fight fossil fuels at LUSH Blog.

Pennie is also co-founder of Movement Rights:
Shifting culture and law to truly protect people is the civil rights struggle of our time and its already happening in communities across the nation. Changing the rules will require more than tinkering at the margins of the current legal, political and corporate-led economic system; it will require a system change from the grassroots. It all begins with neighbors coming together to change their community. Movement Rights provides organizing and legal support for communities to assert their right to local self governance with our partners; leadership and international movement building for the rights of nature; and connects Indigenous leadership, wisdom and analysis toward living in balance with natural systems.  

The Paris COP21 failure demonstrates climate justice lies beyond the “Red Line”

Movement Rights Blog, By Shannon Biggs and Pennie Opal Plant, December 21, 2015

If you’ve been confused by the conflicting reports of the success COP 21 negotiations, you’re not alone. On the final day of the UN climate talks, President Obama issued a statement boasting words the nation, the ministers from 196 negotiating countries and the world wanted to hear: “We met the moment.  We came together around a strong agreement the world needed.” The mainstream media quickly heralded the final agreement as The world’s Greatest Diplomatic Success”   and “Big Green” environmental groups like the Sierra Club   and Avaaz blogged that while it may not be the war, as far as the battle goes, “WE WON.”

The Paris COP21 failure demonstrates climate justice lies beyond the “Red Line”

photo links to Movement Rights Blog

Reports of victory (or the whiff of a qualified victory) quickly flooded the internet. Yet standing on the streets of Paris on December 12—lined with over 10,000 people carrying red tulips and unfurling giant red ribbons defying the ban on demonstrations and condemning world leaders failure to put forward a meaningful, binding agreement—we puzzled, and wondered if we were at the same summit. From the red line action on the outside, many justice activists, economists, experts, NGO participants and Indigenous leaders had a very different take on the outcome. Former Bolivian climate negotiator, Pablo Solon told Democracy Now! “The Paris Agreement Will See the Planet Burn.”

So what does the Paris Agreement say that is creating the division of opinions? 

Read the authors’ outline of what IS and what IS NOT in the Paris UNFCCC agreement at A Quick Guide to the Paris Agreement 
as well as an assessment of who is celebrating and why.

About the authors:

Shannon Biggs, Casey Camp Horinek, and Pennie Opal Plant Movement Rights co-founders Shannon Biggs and Pennie  Opal Plant were in Paris for the COP 21 climate events, and to promote grassroots alternatives to the current UN process including co-producing a report on Rights of Nature, co- hosting a beyond-capacity Rights of Nature tribunal that turned away over 1,000 people, co-leading a ceremony for the signing of an international Indigenous Women’s Treaty for Mother Earth, among many other actions, interventions and activities, very often led by our board member, Indigenous leader and Ponca elder, Casey Camp Horinek (pictured). 

Giving Mother Earth a Voice in Paris

NEWS RELEASE  November 27, 2015     Click for Press Release PDF
CONTACT: Natalia Greene, Secretariat  nati.greene@gmail.com

Giving Mother Earth a Voice in Paris

International Tribunal on Rights of Nature
Convenes during COP21
December 4-5, 2015 – Maison des Métallos

Paris, France – Key environmental justice issues from around the world will have their day in court when the International Tribunal on the Rights of Nature convenes in Paris on December 4-5, 2015, against the backdrop of UNFCCC talks that must move beyond past failures and false solutions to avert global catastrophe.

The high profile international “Peoples Tribunal” – convened by leaders in Earth law and planetary justice from around the world – posits a new legal framework, drawing on the wisdom and cosmovision of indigenous people, aimed at achieving true systems change by recognizing the rights of ecosystems “to exist, persist, and regenerate their vital natural cycles.”

Under current law, nature is treated as private property to be destroyed for profit. It is a legal framework that is proving deadly to people and planet, requiring a transformation of our international and domestic legal systems toward a jurisprudence that recognizes rights of nature. The shift to this new legal framework is underway – Ecuador and Bolivia recognize rights of nature in their constitutions and more than two dozen municipalities in the United States have adopted rights of nature ordinances, including the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (pop. 305,000).

A 13-member panel of judges will preside over the two-day Tribunal, hearing seven cases:

CLIMATE CRIMES AGAINST NATURE (December 4 at 9:40)

Former UN Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Solón, Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians, and Maxime Combes of Attac France, will highlight false climate solutions that fail to address root problems – such as water privatization, “climate-smart agriculture,” REDD+, and other schemes – introducing expert witnesses and victims of climate crimes from Belarus, Canada, Ecuador, France, Mexico, Slovakia, and the Philippines.

FINANCIALIZATION OF NATURE (December 4 at 13:45)

Ivonne Yanez of Acción Ecológica will present three cases highlighting the crime of treating nature as a commodity, introducing expert witnesses from Brazil, Ecuador, and Kenya.

AGRO-FOOD INDUSTRY AND GMOS (December 4 at 15:00)

Indian ecologist and physicist Vandana Shiva of Navdanya and Ronnie Cummins of Organic Consumers will present the case against the global proliferation of GMOs and forms of industrial agriculture that destroy the soil, increase greenhouse gas emissions, pollute water, and reduce biodiversity, calling on expert witnesses from France, Mexico, and the United States.

DEFENDERS OF MOTHER EARTH (December 4 at 16:30)

Indigenous leaders, mining victims, and others who defend nature present the case of the growing risk of violence, including murder, faced by defenders of Mother Earth in South America but also in Europe and other parts of the world. A tragic example: Only days prior to testifying before the 2014 Tribunal in Lima, Peru, on Ecuador’s Mirador mine, José Isidro Tendetza Antun was killed.

FRACKING (December 5 at 9:15)

Shannon Biggs of Movement Rights, USA, and Geert De Cock of Food & Water Watch, Belgium, will present the case against hydraulic fracking, an extreme and devastating form of energy production, drawing on expert witnesses from France and the United States showing how communities have been effective in using rights of nature laws to ban fracking.

MEGA DAMS IN AMAZON (December 5 at 10:30)

Gert-Peter Bruch of Planete Amazone presents the case against building mega dams in the Amazon, with indigenous leaders as expert witnesses testifying to the displacement of tens of thousands and the destruction of the Amazon threatened by the proposed massive diversion of rivers.

CHEVRON AND YASUNÍ (December 5 at 14:15)

Carlos Larrea and Pablo Fajardo, Ecuadorean lawyers who litigated the case in Ecuador against Chevron, argue against the proposed oil exploitation of the Amazon’s pristine Yasuní National Park. Calling on the testimony of indigenous leaders, they also demonstrate the impact of decades of pollution from oil drilling by Chevron and argue for addressing such harms as ecocide under the terms Valérie Cabanes of End Ecocide on Earth explains just prior to their presentation, making the case for recognizing ecocide under international criminal law.

The Earth Defenders prosecuting the cases at the Tribunal are Ramiro Ávila, law professor, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar (Ecuador), and Linda Sheehan, Director, Earth Law Center (US).

The distinguished panel of Tribunal judges, headed by South African attorney Cormac Cullinan, author of WildLaw: A Manifesto for Earth Justice, includes: Alberto Acosta, former President of the Constitutional Assembly (Ecuador); Nnimmo Bassey, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (Nigeria); Christophe Bonneuil, science historian (France); Dominique Bourg, professor of geosciences (Switzerland); Philippe Desbrosses, author, environmental sciences expert, organic farmer (France); Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network (US, Dine’ and Dakota); Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (US); Ruth Nyambura, African Biodiversity Network (Kenya); Felício Pontes, Federal Prosecutor (Brazil); Damien Short, Director of the Human Rights Consortium (UK); Atossa Soltani, Amazon Watch founder (US); and Terisa Turner, professor of anthropology, former UN Energy Specialist (Canada).

The judges will render decisions calling for reparation, mitigation, restoration, and prevention of further damages and harm. Although its decisions do not presently carry the force of law, the Tribunal provides the world with a model for adjudicating cases under a legal framework that recognizes the rights of nature, offering a real and present solution to the root problem behind climate change and other human-induced ecological disasters.

The Paris Tribunal marks the third time the International Tribunal for Rights of Nature has convened. Sponsored by the Global Alliance for Rights of Nature, the inaugural Tribunal was held in Quito, Ecuador, in January 2013, followed by a session in Lima, Peru, in December 2014. Natalia Greene (Ecuador), Tribunal Secretariat, Cormac Cullinan (South Africa), Tribunal President, and Samanta Novella (France) of NatureRights, will introduce the proceedings.

The Tribunal will convene from 9:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 18:00 on Friday and Saturday, December 4 and 5, at the Maison des Métallos in the 11th arrondissement at 94, Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud. Registration required: http://therightsofnature.org/rights-of-nature-tribunal-paris/.

Paris Tribunal Registration Now Open

The International Rights of Nature Tribunal will meet at Maison des Métallos in Paris on 4th and 5th of December, in conjunction with UN Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC COP21. The Tribunal is a unique, citizen-created initiative.Logo-RoNtribunal-fr It gives people from all around the world the opportunity to testify publicly as to the destruction of the Earth — destruction that governments and corporations not only allow, but in some cases encourage.

Space is limited. If you are planning to attend the third International Rights of Nature Tribunal register now for the segments you will attend.

Register for International Rights of Nature TribunalFor more details visit Paris Tribunal …

Date and Time

  • Friday 4 – Saturday 5 December 2015
  • 9:00am – 6:30pm each day (including an intermission)

Tribunal Venue in Paris

MaisondesMetallos-logo

la maison des métallosMaison des Métallos
94 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris, France

Esteemed Judges:

  • Cormac Cullinan, President; Author WildLaw: A Manifesto for Earth Justice (South Africa)
  • Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network (Turtle Island, USA)
  • Alberto Acosta, former President Ecuador Constitutional Assembly
  • Osprey Orielle Lake, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (USA)
  • Nnimmo Bassey, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (Nigeria)
  • Ruth Nyambura, African Biodiversity Network (Kenya)
  • Damien Short, University of London (United Kingdom)
  • Felício Pontes, Federal Prosecutor (Brazil)
  • Terisa Turner, professor Sociology and Anthropology, former UN Energy Specialist (Canada)
  • Atossa Soltani, Amazon Watch (USA)
  • Philippe Desbroses, Honarary, farmer, scientist, writer (France)
  • Dominique Bourg, Professor Geosciences, University of Lausanne (Switzerland)

Among the Expert Witnesses and Case Presenters :

  • Pablo Solon, Fundacion Solon
  • Geneviève Azam, Attac France
  • Vandana Shiva, Navdanya
  • Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians
  • Shannon Biggs, Movement Rights
  • Casey Camp Horinek, Indigenous Environmental Network
  • Esperanza Martinez, Acción Ecologica
  • Patricia Gualinga, Kichwa of Sarayaku, Ecuador
  • Carlos Lareas, Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar
  • Kandi Mossett, Indigenous Environmental Network
  • Tantoo Cardinal, Actress, Activist, Tar Sands, Canada
  • Valerie Cabanes, End Ecocide on Earth

Prosecutors for the Earth:

  • Ramiro Avila, Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar
  • Linda Sheehan, Earth Law Center

International Rights of Nature Tribunal Paris Secretariat:

  • Natalia Greene, Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature
  • Grant Wilson, Earth Law Center