PBI-Canada calls on Canada’s Ambassador for Climate Change to amplify UN resolution on human rights defenders
Patricia Fuller was appointed Canada’s Ambassador for Climate Change in June 2018.
The Prime Minister’s announcement about her appointment highlighted:
“Ms. Fuller will advise both the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Foreign Affairs on how Canada can best advance its climate change priorities on the world stage and work closely with Canadian missions to put the Government of Canada’s environmental policies into practice.”
Ms. Fuller has had a distinguished career in the public service and her international assignments have included postings in Mexico and Guatemala.
Global Witness has documented: “On average, four defenders have been killed every week since December 2015 – the month the Paris Climate agreement was signed, amid hopes of a new era of climate progress. Countless more are silenced by violent attacks, arrests, death threats, sexual violence or lawsuits.”
Global Witness further notes: “Between 2015 and 2019 over a third of all fatal attacks have targeted indigenous people – even though indigenous communities make up only 5% of the world’s population.”
In 2019 alone, 18 land and environmental defenders were killed in Mexico. Another 12 were killed in Guatemala that year.
Given this reality, particularly in Latin America, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed this resolution that affirms: “Human rights defenders, including environmental human rights defenders, must be ensured a safe and enabling environment to undertake their work free from hindrance and insecurity, in recognition of their important role in supporting States to fulfil their obligations under the Paris Agreement.”
And yet it has been a challenge to have human rights fully acknowledged at UN COP climate summit talks and at present language referencing human rights is only in the preamble rather than the operative provisions of the Paris Agreement.
We call on Ambassador Fuller to acknowledge the crucial role of environmental human rights defenders and amplify the UN Resolution on their important role in supporting States to fulfil their obligations under the Paris Agreement.
We would welcome her support on this issue.