Today, more than 340 organisations from both South America and Europe, including Both ENDS, have sent a joint open letter to European Union leaders calling for the EU to cease negotiations on the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement. The organisations and their constituencies are seriously concerned about increasing violations of indigenous human rights and damage to nature and the environment in Brazil.
Earlier this month, we learned that Golfrid Siregar, an Indonesian environmental lawyer working for our partner organisation WALHI died under suspicious circumstances. We call for a thorough and transparent investigation and have brought the case to the attention of the Indonesian embassy in The Hague and to the Netherlands' embassy in Jakarta.
Organisations join forces against polarisation
A broad coalition of organisations has joined forces for peace, human rights, equal opportunities for all and a society where discrimination and exclusion are actively opposed. Under the name "Heart trumps hates", the organisations call upon the public to sign a manifesto and to vote against divisions and for connection at the European elections on May 23rd 2019. On Sunday May 19th an event takes place in Utrecht, where visitors can make a joint statement. People in ten other European countries will also take action on this day.
We are shocked and alarmed by the news of a planned raid into the headquarters of an environmental organisation in the Philippines. Although the raid has not materialised until now, we are deeply concerned for their wellbeing.
In the Nam Ou river in Northern Laos, seven dams are built by a Chinese company. All over the world one can see the same picture when it comes to hydropower projects: it has devastating impacts on the people living in or around the area where they are being built, primarily because they are being displaced. It seems that displacement of communities is still accepted as the unavoidable collateral damage of infrastructure projects. This reveals a highly unacceptable attitude towards poor communities in whose name development is proceeding. In Laos, our Laotian partner visited communities along the river to talk with people about their life after displacement:
Indigenous communities in Paraguay saw their attempts to regain their ancestral lands thwarted by German investors. In Indonesia, US-based mining companies succeeded to roll back new laws that were meant to boost the country’s economic development and protect its forests. This is the level of impact that investment treaties can have on social, environmental and economic development and rights. Why? Because of the ‘Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement’ clauses that are included in many such treaties.
An Open Letter to States and Development Financiers on the need to ensure that development interventions support the realization of human rights, safeguard human rights defenders and guarantee meaningful public participation