Today is International Women's Day. A day originating from women's strikes against poor working conditions in the textile industry, some 100 years ago. Since then, a lot has improved for women but, unfortunately, men and women obviously still don’t have equal rights. In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir already warned that ‘women’s rights will never be vested. You have to stay vigilant your whole life’. Recent developments such as the tightening of abortion laws in some countries confirm this view and show that even in the ‘free West’ women’s rights are still far from self-evident.
While last Thursday afternoon half the Dutch population sat outside on a terrace to enjoy the last tropical heat of 2016, more than seventy people gathered in a room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Why? To attend a workshop on 'Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), an international guideline which stipulates that indigenous peoples should be involved in and give permission for developments taking place in and around the area where they live.
Congratulations to our brave colleagues from the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) from Uganda! At last, their work received official recognition, as on International Human Rights Day, NAPE was awarded a prestigious Human Rights Award by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), endorsed by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). To Frank Muramuzi, executive director of NAPE, the award is a tribute to the organisation’s long time work in fighting for the sustainable use of Uganda’s natural resources and the rights of communities affected by large scale development processes in the country.
In the final days of March, the human rights council of the United Nations declared they will install an 'Independent Expert on Human Rights and Environment'. The effect of climate change on human lives is becoming more obvious, and by making this decision, the council acknowledges the importance of the relationship between human rights and the environment. This is good news right before the Rio+20 conference in June; Both ENDS and other civil society organisations are advocating incorporation of human rights into sustainable development policy.