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Environmental human rights defenders forum addresses challenges in the Asia Pacific

Graphic: Climate activists and supporters display placards during a global climate strike

Asia Pacific Forum LogoAsia Pacific Forum

The 3rd Asia Pacific Environmental Human Rights Defenders (EHRDs) Forum, held from 20-22 September, served as a platform for EHRDs from the region to address issues and regional trends in environmental rights protection.

EHRDs are those individuals and groups that work to safeguard and promote human rights related to the environment. Their work addresses the interconnected challenges of biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change and seeks to uphold the universally recognised right to a healthy environment.

The Forum emphasised the pivotal role EHRDs play in advancing the right to a healthy environment, with the aim of increasing awareness, enhancing the capacity of EHRDs, and focusing on data collection to monitor the EHRD situation in the region.

The APF was invited to participate in a session on ‘Improving Protection through Data,’ to share information about the APF Regional Action Plan on Human Rights Defenders and a new data tool being developed in collaboration with the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR). 

Fia Hamid-Walker, APF HRDs Project Officer, presented alongside Carol Rask, Chief Adviser at DIHR on the ‘Right to Defend Rights Tool,’ which will monitor the situation of HRDs in the region including the implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders within national contexts. 

The tool, currently in development, will be officially launched at an online event on 7 December, 2023. During the event, participants will also hear about a joint research effort between the APF and the Asia Centre titled ‘Digital Security & Human Rights Defenders Landscape: Recommendations for NHRIs in the Asia-Pacific.’  

For more information about the launch, contact Fia Hamid-Walker at fiahamid-walker@asiapacificforum.net

Date: October 31, 2023

The 3rd Asia Pacific Environmental Human Rights Defenders Forum was jointly organised by UN Human Rights (OHCHR), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and UN ESCAP, together with Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Asia Pacific Network of Environmental Defenders (APNED), Asia Research Institute for Environmental Law (ARIEL), Diplomacy Training Programme (DTP), EarthRights International, Global Witness, Indigenous Peoples Rights International (IPRI), World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature and the Youth Empowerment Climate Action Platform (YECAP).

Image credits

  1. Climate activists and supporters display placards during a global climate strike - Mamunur Rashid on Shutterstock