PBI-Honduras observes ‘Escazú: Now more than ever!’ forum organized by the Honduras Network for Escazú on Earth Day

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On April 25, PBI-Honduras tweeted: “A few days ago, PBI observed the Forum ‘Escazú: Now more than ever!’, of the Honduras Network for Escazú. We highlight the defense work of all the people in Honduras who advocate for the importance of protecting the environment, the land and the territory.”

The video of the forum can be watched here.

The Escazú Agreement entered into force on Earth Day, April 22, 2021.

To date, 24 countries have signed the Escazú Agreement, 12 of which have also ratified it: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Uruguay.

In September 2018, Peace Brigades International endorsed the Escazú Agreement as “a means to guarantee a safe environment in which individuals, groups and organizations that promote and defend human rights related to the environment can act without facing threats, restrictions, attacks or danger.”

Significantly, the Escazú Agreement is the first legally binding treaty to include specific provisions to protect environmental defenders.

Article 9 includes the obligation for States to: “guarantee a safe and enabling environment for persons, groups and organizations that promote and defend human rights in environmental matters, so that they are able to act free from threat, restriction and insecurity.”

Article 9 also mandates States to: “prevent, investigate and punish attacks, threats or intimidations that human rights defenders in environmental matters may suffer while exercising the rights set out in the present Agreement.”

Canada and Escazú

On March 5, 2021, Special Rapporteur Mary Lawlor presented to the UN Human Rights Council on the threats against and killings of human rights defenders.

During that session, Canada’s Ambassador to the UN Leslie E. Norton stated: “Some states have established specific protection mechanisms to prevent risks and attacks against HRDs and to intervene when need be. Canada wants to stress these important milestones such as the Escazu Regional Agreement in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Subsequently, on May 5, 2021, Paraguay received 210 recommendations during its Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations including this one from Canada:

“Ratify the Escazú Agreement and ensure appropriate resources are in place to enforce it domestically in order to better protect environmental defenders, including Indigenous peoples, rural leaders and journalists.”

While Canada did call on Paraguay to back Escazu, it did not join with the Ambassadors from Germany, Sweden and Norway when they urged Colombia to ratify the agreement in June 2021 in an El Tiempo opinion piece.

We continue to follow the situation in Honduras.

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