The U.S. is not always in the front line when it comes to the protection of human rights and the environment in developing countries, but there are exceptions. The Netherlands has recently joined the ‘climate initiative’ of President Obama, which aims at ending the public funding of coal plants. But the U.S. is going even further than that: under the ‘Appropriations Bill’, U.S. directors at international financial institutions have to vote against projects that support large dams and industrial logging or mining projects in tropical forests. We are calling on Dutch Minister Ploumen to follow the U.S. example!
On 28 November 2007, the Saramaka people won a ground-breaking court case against Suriname at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR). The Court ruling included the provision that Suriname could no longer grant concessions on tribal territory without the permission of the inhabitants. Ten years later, little has come of implementing this ruling in practice.
Participatory Land Use Planning (PLUP) is a rights-based approach ensuring inclusive and gender-responsive land governance, especially for those whose rights to land are not fully acknowledged.
In July this year, 120 nations voted in favour of a UN resolution confirming the rights to water and sanitation as human rights. Recently, however, all references to human rights have been removed from the draft text of a United Nations General Assembly resolution on a separate drive for sanitation. This change in the text removed the obligation of states under international law to report to the UN on progress in providing their citizens with access to clean water and sanitation. On November 23, the final version of the text is due to be completed.
Biju Mathew, an American professor from India who is also active for the 'Mining Zone Peoples Solidarity Group (MZPSG), visited Both ENDS' office in Amsterdam on January 19th. He was returning from a 'fact-finding mission' in the province of Orissa in India, where Korean steel company POSCO has plans for building a steel plant, several iron ore mines, roads, a railroad and a private harbor.