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Archive for Shannon Biggs

International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Bonn Findings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : 10 November 2017
Media Contact:
Robert Wager (media contact) robert@endecocide.eu + 49 160 8104348
Cabot Davis (general inquiries) cabot@movementrights.org + 1 (831) 854-7634
Natalia Greene (Tribunal’s Secretariat) nati.greene@gmail.com + 593 9944-3724

Press release Bonn Tribunal (final)-ES (Print Spanish)

Press release Bonn Tribunal (final) (Print English)

BONN, Germany – The 4th session of the International Rights of Nature Tribunal, held concurrently with the 23rd United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP23), exposed the significant role which legal systems play in enabling climate change and global environmental degradation. The Tribunal heard seven cases from around the world which collectively demonstrated that global and national climate change commitments cannot be met without fundamental changes to the legal systems which legalise the activities that cause climate change and the destruction of the ecological systems on which life depends. This is a global problem – one of the cases concerned a massive lignite mine approximately 50 kms from the COP 23 negotiations.

The Bonn Tribunal consisted of 9 judges from 7 countries, and was presided over by the prominent indigenous climate and environmental justice leader, Tom Mato Awanyankapi Goldtooth. Over the course of two days, 53 people from 19 countries speaking over 7 languages presented cases regarding violations of the rights of Nature. A range of experts who testified before the Tribunal explained that whatever is agreed at the COP 23 and subsequent meetings, action to combat climate change will be ineffective while governments continue to authorise coal mines, oil wells and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), and the mining of groundwater, and allow corporations to use investor state dispute settlement mechanisms in trade agreements to prevent the taking of effective measures to protect life.

Witnesses gave first-hand accounts of what it is like to live near fracking operations, oil wells and refineries, and coal mines, about how those who defend Mother Earth are persecuted, attacked, criminalised and have their homes burnt. It heard of the anguish of indigenous and other peoples from local communities who live in intimacy with Nature as it is destroyed by roads, mines or industrial agriculture in order to benefit a small elite.

Indigenous peoples from around the world played a prominent role throughout the Tribunal as experts and witnesses. The Tribunal opened with deeply moving ceremonies and evocations of Mother Earth by representatives of the Sámi people of Europe, the Sarayaku community in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and the indigenous peoples of North America. Indigenous peoples from Africa, Russia, Bolivia, Ecuador, French Guyana, and the USA/Turtle Island presented testimonies that drew the Tribunal’s attention to the sacredness of Earth – a dimensions ignored in the COP 23 negotiations.

The Tribunal found that in each of the seven cases, serious and systematic violations of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth (UDRME) had occurred, often accompanied by human rights violations, and in several cases the harm was so severe as to constitute ecocide. In each case the legal system did not provide adequate remedies to prevent on-going harm. In most cases the harm was caused by activities such as deforestation and mining which could only take place because they had been authorised by law. It was abundantly clear those legal systems that elevate property rights and the rights of corporation above the rights of water, air and ecosystems to exist and contribute to the ecological health of the planet, are exacerbating climate change by clothing destructive activities in a cloak of legal legitimacy. The Tribunal noted that carbon, biological and conservation offsets and ecosystem services are financialisation processes that enable Nature to be privatised, commodified and traded in financial market systems. Carbon market are false solutions that do not cut emissions at source.

The Tribunal and panel of Judges

The Tribunal considers cases from the perspective of what is in the best interests of the Earth community as a whole, and hears cases involving alleged violations of the UDRME and international human rights law. The Tribunal was established in 2014 by the members of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and was formally constituted in 2015 in Paris when a wide range of civil society organizations and indigenous communities signed a Peoples’ Convention to establish the Tribunal. Cases are heard by a panel of eminent legal and environmental experts from around the world. The Bonn panel consisted of 9 distinguished judges from 7 countries: President – Tom Goldtooth (Indigenous Environmental Network, Turtle Island – USA); Osprey Orielle Lake (Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network – USA); Alberto Acosta (former president of the Constitutional Assembly – Ecuador); Fernando “Pino” Solanas (senator, Argentina), Ute Koczy (Urgewald E.V., former Parliamentarian, Germany); Cormac Cullinan (Wild Institute Law- South Africa); Simona Fraudatorio (Permanent People’s Tribunal, Italy); Shannon Biggs (Movement Rights, USA), Ruth Nyambura (African Biodiversity Network – Kenya).

Cases heard by the Tribunal in Bonn

Climate Change and False Energy Solutions.

Expert witnesses testified about how corporations such as Exxon not only profit from activities which they know cause dangerous climate change, they have also deliberately promoted false solutions to climate change (e.g. nuclear energy and gas from fracking operations) and are impeded the introduction of renewable energy and other climate change mitigation measures. In some cases corporations have spread false propaganda about indigenous peoples and others opposing the fossil fuel industry.

The Tribunal heard disturbing evidence from witnesses about the severe health impacts of living in places polluted by the coal, oil and gas industries. Evidence was presented about how energy industry operations had contaminated water, air and ground in many parts of the world in violation of the rights of Mother Earth and of human rights. Witnesses from Mauritius and Texas gave evidence of the impacts of severe hurricanes and cyclones caused or exacerbated by climate change. For example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, homes were damaged, environmental restrictions were suspended and people had to breathe toxic fumes.

The Tribunal found that gas extraction by means of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), nuclear energy and carbon markets are all false solutions used to delay the transition to low-carbon societies. For example, fracking “breaks the bones of the Earth” and only perpetuates the destructive dependence upon oil, and gas. Carbon trading commodifies nature and allows the wealthy to buy the right to exceed national emission limits. The Tribunal decided that promoting and undertaking these activities violates the rights of Nature, including the right to integral health.

Financialization of Nature and the REDD+

Evidence was presented that REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) framework and other carbon market frameworks and payment for ecological services have resulted in more ecological destruction and pollution and facilitated the establishment and continuation of destructive industries. Witnesses explained how systematic mechanisms, such as REDD+ were resulting in indigenous and local peoples who had not degraded their lands being disposed and losing their rights in order to enable a polluting company elsewhere in the world to continue exceeding air emission limits.

The Tribunal found that that systems such as REDD+ that commodified Nature failed to recognise the reality that human beings are an integral and inseparable part of a living Earth community and that the exploitation, commodification and financialization of Nature is detrimental to all. Those who established these systems or who traded in carbon or biodiversity “credits”, were violating the rights of Nature and failing in their duty to ensure that the pursuit of human wellbeing contributes to the wellbeing of Mother Earth.

Lignite mining in the Hambach Forest

Witnesses gave evidence of how a massive lignite mine near Bonn has created the largest hole in Europe, and as it expands is destroying whole villages and the ancient Hambach forest. The forest has existed for 12,000 years, contains 800 year old trees and is home to 142 protected species. Only about 7 square kilometres of the original 60 square kilometres are left. The Tribunal heard evidence about how burning the lignite from the mine will exacerbate

global warming and cause severe pollution and health risks as well as diminish and pollute the groundwater which sustains the forest and other ecosystems. It also heard evidence from young people who are living high up in the trees in an attempt to protect them from destruction, and of how they now have an intimate relationship with the trees and the forest.

The Tribunal found that further expansion of the mine must be stopped immediately, that the site should be rehabilitated as far as possible and that Germany should recognise the rights of Nature in law in order to prevent such projects in the future. The Tribunal also drew attention to the fact that it is necessary to cease all coal mining as soon as possible in order to mitigate climate change, and particularly its effects on future generations.

Defenders of Mother Earth

The UDRME requires all human beings and institutions to defend the rights of Mother Earth and of all beings. Evidence from around the world exposed the wide-spread disregard for this duty and how people, particularly indigenous peoples, in the United States of America, Russia, Latin America and Africa are being persecuted for defending Nature from harm. In many cases the persecutions of indigenous peoples such as the Sámi peoples over long periods of time were clearly designed to destroy cultural understandings and practices that respect and protect the rights of Mother Earth and other beings.

Witnesses who testified included water protectors from Standing Rock in the United States, and representatives of indigenous peoples from Sweden (Sámi), and Russia (Shor). The Tribunal heard how indigenous people using peaceful means to defend water and Mother Earth are met with violence as governments protect corporate interests as occurred at Standing Rock. The Lakota Sioux tribe was never adequately consulted about the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across their land. The evidence showed that the pipeline would diminish the quality of life of indigenous peoples minorities, specifically in relationship to the sacredness of water and sacred and cultural significant areas.

The Tribunal noted the ongoing history of systemic violations of the rights of the indigenous peoples. And reiterated that everyone has the duty to defend those who protect the rights of Mother Earth and to break the pattern of violation and abuse of indigenous peoples.

Almeria –deprivation of water

In the Almeria waters case the Tribunal found that the abstractions of huge quantities of water from aquifers in the Almeria region of Spain, primarily to irrigate large-scale intensive olive plantations is a violation of the rights of the rivers and ecological systems of Almeria, and a violation of the human rights of local peoples. The Spanish State and the government of Almeria must act immediately to stop the abstraction of groundwater to enable the ecosystems to recover, and the intensive cultivation of olives in Almeria must cease.

This case illustrates the consequences of treating water as a commodity that can be monopolised by the wealthy instead of recognising water as a vital source of life, which must be respected and afforded the highest level of protection. Although this case focused on a specific area, it is an example of what is happening in many areas of the world, and the principles are universal. Those human societies that do not respect water as life and which fail to take whatever measures are necessary to protect the ecological systems and cycles that generate water, destroy life and ultimately destroy themselves. Water is priceless – societies that sacrifice water sources for money, will pay a terrible price.

Threats to the Amazon

The Tribunal decided to hear a number of cases from different parts of the Amazon simultaneously in order to consider threats to the Amazon ecosystem in a holistic way. It heard evidence of widespread violations of indigenous rights and the rights of Mother Earth throughout the greater Amazon region. This included testimony about the huge mine proposed in French Guyana, and from communities in Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador. It is clear that this vital ecosystem that is a reservoir of life, home to many peoples and an essential part of maintaining global climatic stability, is being subjected to many attacks which violate its right to exist and maintain its vital cycles. The extractivist global model inevitably results in violations of the rights of the Amazon as a whole and diminishes the quality of life of all organisms in the region.
The Tribunal heard allegations of violations of the rights of Mother Earth arising from the proposed construction of a major road through the TIPNIS protected area in Bolivia and from oil exploitation in the area. Evidence about the victimization and intimidation of those opposing the construction of the road was also placed before the Tribunal. The Tribunal noted this evidence with great concern, particularly because the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth was proclaimed in Bolivia in 2010 and Bolivia has championed rights of Nature internationally.

The Tribunal decided that it wished to gather more evidence from all concerned, including the State of Bolivia, and if possible to send a delegation on a fact-finding mission to Bolivia. It also decided to request the Bolivian government to impose a moratorium on construction of the proposed road and bridges through TIPNIS and on further oil exploration in or near TIPNIS, until the Tribunal has completed its work. The Tribunal was of the view that the imposition of such a moratorium would be an appropriate precautionary measure to avoid possible violations of rights of Mother Earth while a resolution to this dispute is being sought.

Trade Agreements and their Implications on Nature

Expert witnesses from Canada, Germany, South Africa and Puerto Rico testified that Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are the drivers of an unsustainable economy based on fossil fuels, privatization, commodification and legalized enslavement of all life on Earth. FTAs are legally binding and take precedence over non-binding commitments made under the Paris Agreement. States can even be prevented from passing new laws to protect ecosystems if the tribunals established under Investor State Dispute Settlement Mechanisms (ISDSMs) in FTAs decide that they are “barriers to trade”. Indigenous peoples pay the highest price under schemes like NAFTA. Because they have protected and live close to the land, they are targets for displacement in the quest for pristine untapped “resources” for drilling, clear-cutting water mining, etc. For example, 50% of the groundwater has already been depleted in NAFTA affected areas in Mexico.

The Tribunal found that Free Trade Agreements result in systemic violations of the Rights of Nature and are based on the delusion that trade is more important than life. The provisions of these agreements must be regarded as null and void to the extent that they conflict with the rights and duties in the UDRME.

Notes

The Global Alliance for Rights of Nature (GARN) is a network of organizations and individuals committed to the universal adoption and implementation of legal systems that recognize, respect and enforce “Rights of Nature – see https://therightsofnature.org/ The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Nature is available at http://therightsofnature.org/universal-declaration

Movement Rights issues new report for Bonn

Movement Rights in Bonn, Germany
Rights of Nature and Mother Earth Rights Based Law by Movement Rights-WECAN-IEN
Movement Rights is in Bonn Germany with colleagues to present Rights of Nature as an alternative framework for justice and climate rights. Today they are launching their new report for Bonn, Rights of Nature & Mother Earth Rights Based Law, which Movement Rights, co-edited with partners Women’s Earth and Climate Network (WECAN) and the International Environmental Network (IEN).

With contributions from global leaders including Pablo Solon (Bolivia); Cormac Cullinan (South Africa) Maude Barlow (Canada) and many others, this report explores not just the idea of a radical shift toward recognizing rights of ecosystems (and our responsibilities to the Earth) but includes global examples from around the world where these new laws are taking root. They are inviting readers to Please download and share this new report.

Movement Rights, WECAN and IEN are organizing members and active participants in the 4th International Rights of Nature Tribunal hosted by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN) November 7-8 in Bonn, at the LVR-Landesmuseum with an informative teach-in event to follow.

Click to read Movement Rights Announcement newsletter.

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.

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). 

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

 

International Rights of Nature Tribunal AGENDA

December 4-5, Maison des Metallos, 94 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011
Download International Rights of Nature Program ~ Click for English      Cliquez pour le français

Tribunal Program cover en

INTERNATIONAL RIGHTS OF NATURE TRIBUNAL
A unique, citizen-created initiative to testify publicly about the destruction of the Earth and propose a systemic alternative to environmental protection and current environmental laws.

The International Rights of Nature Tribunal was launched by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN) in 2014. The first session of the Tribunal, presided over by Dr. Vandana Shiva, was convened in Quito, Ecuador in January 2014 during the Global Rights of Nature Summit. The second session held in Lima, Peru in December 2014 during the UNFCCC-COP20 climate discussions, and was presided over by Alberto Acosta. This is the third such Tribunal, and is being held concurrent with the COP21 climate talks in Paris.

The Tribunal is a unique, citizen-created initiative. 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.

The Tribunal provides a systemic alternative to environmental protection, acknowledging that ecosystems have the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate their vital cycles, with legal standing in a court of law. The Tribunal has a strong focus on enabling Indigenous Peoples to share their unique concerns and solutions about land, water, air and culture with the global community.

The Tribunal features internationally renowned lawyers and leaders for planetary justice, who will hear emblematic cases addressing issues such as climate change and false solutions, GMOs, fracking, extractive industries such as mining, and other violations of nature’s rights.

The Tribunals formulate judgments and recommendations for the Earth’s protection and restoration based on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and existing nature’s rights laws. Among other things, the Declaration binds us to respect the integrity of the vital ecological processes of the Earth. Accordingly, the Declaration also helps advance proposed amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to recognize the crime of Ecocide.

The International Tribunal of the Rights of Nature is part of an effort to promote a change of consciousness and highlight the need to expand the international legal framework, national laws and courts to ensure the safety of planet by preserving biodiversity and respecting ecosystem dynamics.

The third International Rights of Nature Tribunal will be held on 4 and 5 December 2015 concurrently with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 21) in Paris, France. This tribunal is hosted by the Global Alliance of the Rights of Nature in partnership with End Ecocide on Earth; NatureRights & Attac France.

CLIMATE CRIMES AGAINST NATURE • FINANCIALIZATION OF NATURE
AGRO-FOOD INDUSTRY/GMOS • MEGA-DAMS IN THE AMAZON • FRACKING
DEFENDERS OF MOTHER EARTH • OIL EXPLOITATION ECOCIDES

Registration details:
www.maisondesmetallos.org/2015/07/22/tribunal-international-des-droits-de-la-nature
More information:
(EN) https://therightsofnature.org/rights-of-nature-tribunal-paris – tribunal@therightsofnature.org
(FR) http://www.naturerights.com/blog/?p=1126 – samanta@naturerights.com

INTERNATIONAL RIGHTS OF NATURE TRIBUNAL – PROGRAM
MAISON DES METALLOS – FRIDAY 4 DEC. & SATURDAY 5 DEC. / 9H00-18H00
The Tribunal is hosted by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN), who holds the Secretariat and formal procedures for ongoing International Rights of Nature Tribunals.
In Paris, the GARN has established a partnership with End Ecocide on Earth for some cases of Ecocides, and with NatureRights and Attac France. The cases will be presented by presenters, experts, witnesses and victims.
JUDGES

President – Cormac Cullinan (Author Wild Law, Cullinan Associates Inc., EnAct International – South Africa)
Tom Goldtooth (Indigenous Environmental Network, Turtle Island – USA)
Alberto Acosta (Economist and former president of the Constituent Assembly from Ecuador)
Osprey Orielle Lake (Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network – USA)
Terisa Turner (professor, former UN Energy Specialist – Canada)
Felicio Pontes (Federal Prosecutor – Brazil)
Damien Short (Dir. Human Rights Consorcium University of London – UK)
Attosa Soltani (Amazon Watch founder – USA)
Nnimmo Bassey (Health of Mother Earth Foundation / Oilwatch – Nigeria)
Ruth Nyambura (Political ecologist, 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 (University of Lausanne, Philosopher, author – Switzerland) – Honorary Judge on December 5th

PROSECUTORS FOR THE EARTH:  Ramiro Ávila (University Simón Bolivar – Ecuador); Linda Sheehan (Earth Law Center – USA)

SECRETARIAT:  Natalia Greene (GARN – Ecuador)

SECRETARIAT ADVISORS:

Edgardo Lander (Universidad Central de Venezuela, Transnational Institute – Venezuela), Joan Martínez Alier (Prof. ICTA Autonomous University of Barcelona – Spain), Enrique Viale (Asociación Argentina de Abogados Ambientalistas – Argentina), Thomas Coutrot (Attac France), Fernando Pino Solanas (Senator, Argentina)

FRIDAY 4 DEC. 9H00-18H

9H00 – INDIGENOUS OPENING CEREMONY
Patricia Gualingua (Sarayeku) / Ta’kaiya Blaney (Tla’Amin First Nation, Canada) / Cassey Camp Horinek (Ponca Oklahoma, USA)

9H20 – INTRODUCTORY REMARKS ON THE INTERNATIONAL RIGHTS OF NATURE TRIBUNAL

Introduction: Natalia Greene (GARN), Samanta Novella (NatureRights)
Rights of Nature RON Assessment Esperanza Martinez (Acción Ecologica)
Opening from Tribunal’s President Cormac Cullinan
Opening from Prosecutors for the Earth  Ramiro Ávila, Linda Sheehan

9H40 – CLIMATE CRIMES AGAINST NATURE
Presenter Pablo Solón (Fundacion Solon, Focus on the Global South) (Judges Osprey Orielle Lake & Nnimmo Bassey)
Fossil Fuels  Expert   Maxime Combes (Attac France), Witness/Victim Desmond D’sa (South Africa)

Deforestation Miguel Lovera (Global Forest Coalition, Paraguay), David Kureeba (Global Forest Coalition, Uganda)
Water & Climate  Maude Barlow (Council of Canadians), Michal Kravcik (Slovakia)
Market Mechanisms, Climate Smart Agriculture, Land Use  Badrul Alam (LVC & President, Bangladesh Krishok Federation) and Maria Isabel Carrillo (CONAVIGUA)

11h30 – Coffee Break

Bio-Energy Carbon Capture Storage Pat Mooney (ETC Group)
Geoengineering
Silvia Ribeiro (ETC Group Mexico) Godwin Ojo (Nigeria, FoE)
Nuclear Roland Desbordes (CRIIRAD), Alexei Nesterenko (Belarus)

12h40 – Lunch

13H45 – FINANCIALIZATION OF NATURE
Presenter Ivonne Yanez (Acción Ecológica, Ecuador) (Judge Tom Goldtooth)
Compensation mechanisms linked to biodiversity conservation Genevieve Azam (Attac France), Tamra Gilberston (Carbon Trade Watch), Gloria Ushigua (Sápara, Ecuador)
EU biodiversity offsets, WRM Report on REDD+, economic valuation of nature Jutta Kill (biologist, Germany), Sengwer Indigenous representative (Kenya, Africa)

15H00 – AGRO-FOOD INDUSTRY / GMOS
Presenter: Vandana Shiva (Navdanya) (Judge: Philippe Desbrosses)
Marie-Monique Robin (Journalist), Ronnie Cummins (Organic Consumers Association (OCA)), José Bové (Via Campesina, Green European Deputee), Andre Leu (IFOAM)

16h15 – Break
16H30 – DEFENDERS OF MOTHER EARTH
(Judges: Ruth Nyambura and Atossa Soltani)
Criminalization of defenders of Mother Earth in Ecuador Blanca Chancoso (Kichwa), Belén Páez (Pachamama Foundation), Manari Ushigua (Sápara leader), Braulio Gutierrez (Yasunidos)
Fossil fuels and chemical contamination Yudith Nieto, Juan and Byron Parras (USA-Houston TX, T.E.J.A.S)

17H10 PROSECUTORS FOR THE EARTH STATEMENTS
17H15 – JUDGES’ STATEMENTS FROM DAY 1
18H00 – CONTRIBUTION OF ADVISOR’S COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVE (Fernando Pino Solanas)
18H10 – CLOSURE

SAT 5 DEC. 2015 – 9H-18H00
09H15 – HYDRAULIC FRACKING
Presenter Shannon Biggs (Movement Rights – USA) (Judge: Damien Short)
Enrique Viales (Argentina), Geert de Cock (Food and Water – Europe), Kandi Mosset (Fort Berthold, ND, USA), Khaoula Chikhaoui (Tunisia)

10H30 – MEGA DAMS IN THE AMAZON – BELO MONTE & TAPAJOS
Presenter Gert-Peter Bruch (Planète Amazone, France) (Judge: Felicio Pontes)
Christian Poirier (Amazon Watch), Cacique Raoni Kayapo, Antonia Mello (Xingu Vivo), Munduruku and Yawalapiti representatives
Tapajós
11H30 – Coffee Break
11H45 – PRESENTATION OF NEW CASES TO THE INTERNATIONAL RIGHTS OF NATURE TRIBUNAL SECRETARIAT
Andrea Padilla (AnimaNaturalis, Corralejas Colombia); Alexandra Postelnicu (Rosia Montana Mines, Romania); Lisa Mead, Earth Laws Alliance (Depletion of Marine Life); Godwin Ojo, (Environmental Rights Action (ERA)/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Niger Delta Shell), Eriel Deranger, Athabascan Chippewyan (Oil Sands Canada)
(Judges: Christophe Bonneuil and Terisa Turner).

13h00 – Lunch
14H00 – ECOCIDE CRIME AT THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

Presenter Valerie Cabanes (EEE) – Recognizing ecocide in international criminal law; reopening of cases related to oil exploitation as ecocides.

14H15 – OIL EXPLOITATION ECOCIDES – ECUADOR
Presenter Carlos Larrea (Andina Simón Bolivar University) (Judges: Dominique Bourg and Alberto Acosta)
Yasuní-ITT Case Esperanza Martinez (Acción Ecologica, Oilwatch – Keep Oil Underground Annex 0), Antonella Calle (Yasunidos), Patricia Gualinga (Sarayaku)
Texaco/Chevron Ecocides Case Pablo Fajardo (Lawyer, UDAPT – Union de afectados por Texaco), Humberto Piaguaje (UDAPT – Union de afectados por Texaco)

15H30 – PRESENTATION OF DECISIONS ON PREVIOUS CASES:

Conclusion statements on Yasuní-ITT (Ecuador) Alberto Acosta, Great Barrier Reef (Australia) Tantoo Cardinal

15h45 – Coffee Break

16H15 PROSECUTORS FOR THE EARTH STATEMENTS
16H30 – JUDGES STATEMENTS FROM DAY 2
17H20 – PRESIDENT’S FINAL STATEMENTS
17H50 – CLOSURE : TA’KAIYA BLANEY

Rights of Nature & Mother Earth: Sowing seeds of resistance, love and change.

Edited by Shannon Biggs and Tom BK Goldtooth

RONME-Sowing-Seeds

Movement Rights, Indigenous Environmental Network and Global Exchange are proud to announce the release of their new report for the Paris climate talks! Edited by Shannon Biggs and Tom BK Goldtooth, this report, “Rights of Nature & Mother Earth: Sowing seeds of resistance, love and change” is a collaboration between Movement Rights, Indigenous Environmental Network, and Global Exchange. Providing both a critique of the UNFCCC process and an alternative system of environmental protection, the report includes contributions by Dr. Vandana Shiva (India), Maude Barlow (Canada), Pablo Solon (Bolivia), Alberto Acosta (Ecuador), Cormac Cullinan (South Africa), Linda Sheehan (USA), Osprey Orielle Lake (USA) and many other luminaries.

Please share and download complete report here: http://www.movementrights.org/resources/RONME-SowingSeeds.pdf

The Earth Rights movement and the road beyond Paris

Preface Article by Tom B.K. Goldtooth and Shannon Biggs, editors

L’humanité et la nature ne font qu’un. ةدحاو ةعيبطلاو ةيناسنإلا . In the wake of the violence in Paris, Beirut, Syria, Iraq and around the world, we are reminded that not only are we one people—but humanity and all nature are one. It is time to seek peace and justice for humanity and Mother Earth.

While billed asthe most important climate meeting ever held, the next generation will not look back on the Paris COP 21 as the historic moment governments took decisive action on climate change.

The modern world is removed from nature. A world without a living knowledge of its spiritual relationship and responsibilities to the creative principles of the natural laws of Mother Earth, results in our planet become property, without a soul, to be owned and sold. Nearly everywhere, the legal paradigm of laws protects the ownership of nature, so it is not surprising that the UN climate negotiations are rooted in the continued privatization of ecosystems and putting a price tag on the processes of the natural world.

The predictable failure of the Paris UNFCCC negotiations has been 20 years in the making. The climate Ponzi scheme of trading of air, water, trees, soil, and biodiversity along with false solutions of carbon capture, genetically modified organisms, geoengineering, synthetic biology, nanotechnology, agrofuels, fracking, nuclear projects and energy generation from incineration—all these will do more harm than good to Mother Earth. As Nigerian activist Nnimo Bassey has said, “The outcome is already known: a  package of non-binding promises and non-commitments. It will be another carbon stock exchange.”

Changing our relation to the sacredness of Mother Earth

Rather than mourn the loss of international political leadership on climate change to the peddlers of extractive capitalism, its time to acknowledge where the real power to create change lies, and what Paris might be remembered for. The next generation could look back on Paris as the time when grassroots movements became the real and rightful leaders on climate with searing critiques of capitalism and endless growth and a transformative solutions based on equity, and living in balance with natural laws.

Climate change itself is the Earth’s demand for human system change; it is a wake up call to shake off old ways that got us here, and to create vibrant local living economies respectful of the living cycles of Mother Earth and Father Sky. It means shifting the legal landscape that has propped up industrialization by treating ecosystems as property to be owned and destroyed.

Rights of nature define legal rights for ecosystems “to exist, flourish and regenerate their natural capacities.” These laws challenge the status of nature as mere property and while not stopping development, recognizing legal rights of nature stops the kind of development that interferes with the existence and vitality of ecosystems. It provides a legal framework for an ethical and spiritual relationship to the Earth and the Sky. And its been growing at the local and national level around the world. In the last decade, three countries and dozens of communities have passed laws recognizing “legal standing” for ecosystems.

This report “Rights of Nature & Mother Earth: Sowing seeds of resistance, love and change” isn’t just a challenge to the UN climate framework. It is a call for Earth’s real revolution, a reawakening of the Sacred, and a legal framework to support real system change based on the inalienable rights of nature– of Mother Earth—of which our own human rights and the fate of humanity cannot be separated.
L’humanité et la nature ne font qu’un.

About the editors

Shannon Biggs is the co-founder and Executive Director of Movement Rights, advancing legal rights for communities, indigenous peoples and ecosystems. She has been a senior staffer at Global Exchange and the International Forum on Globalization, and is the co-author and editor of two books including “The Rights of Nature, the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Nature.” She is also a founder of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. She holds an MSc. from the London School of Economics (LSE) in Economics and the Politics of Empire.

Tom B.K. Goldtooth is the Executive Director of The Indigenous Environmental Network, a network of indigenous communities worldwide.  He is a leader of environmental and climate justice issues and the rights of Indigenous peoples. He is a board member of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. In 2015 he received the Gandhi Peace Award, and is also co-and producer of an award-winning documentary Drumbeat For Mother Earth, which addresses the effects of bio-accumulative chemicals on indigenous communities.

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: https://therightsofnature.org/rights-of-nature-tribunal-paris/.