• As the world urbanizes and industrializes, and as effects of climate change intensify, environmental crises will increasingly devastate the lives, health, and livelihoods of people around the globe. A lack of legal regulation and enforcement of industrial and artisanal mining, large-scale dams, deforestation, domestic water and sanitation systems, and heavily polluting industries can lead to host of human rights violations.

    Activists and ordinary citizens defending their rights to land and the environment may face intimidation, legal harassment and deadly violence. The primary victims of environmental harm are often impoverished and marginalized communities with limited opportunity to meaningfully participate in decision-making and public debate on environmental issues, and have little access to independent courts to achieve accountability and redress. 

  • Klity Creek. Kanchanaburi, Thailand. December 8, 2014.
    (Bangkok) – The Thai government has failed to clean up toxic lead in a stream in western Thailand, threatening hundreds of families with serious and irreversible health problems, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Supreme Administrative Court’s order nearly two years ago to clean up Klity Creek, the first of its kind in Thailand, has been ignored by the government while villagers remain exposed to lead in water, soil, vegetables, and fish.

Reports

Environment

  • Mar 27, 2015
  • Jan 14, 2015
    Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to review the draft IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. Below are recommendations based on research conducted by Human Rights Watch in various countries. Human Rights Watch has carried out extensive research on business and human rights issues, including on human rights and mining in India, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mali, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Dec 16, 2014
    Klity Creek is now also one of the most heavily polluted industrial sites in all of Thailand. Eleven kilometres upstream is a former lead-processing factory. The factory, which started its operations in the mid-1960s, was ordered to close in 1998. But its toxic legacy remains.
  • Dec 15, 2014
    (Bangkok) – The Thai government has failed to clean up toxic lead in a stream in western Thailand, threatening hundreds of families with serious and irreversible health problems, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Supreme Administrative Court’s order nearly two years ago to clean up Klity Creek, the first of its kind in Thailand, has been ignored by the government while villagers remain exposed to lead in water, soil, vegetables, and fish.
  • Dec 3, 2014
    As leading non-governmental organizations in the area of human rights, including children’s rights, labor rights and anti-corruption as well as official representatives of professional football players and supporters, we are joining forces to cooperate on the issue of “Mega-Sporting- Events” (MSEs).
  • Oct 8, 2014
    Indigenous peoples’ rights, particularly land and resource rights including their right to free, prior, and informed consent, must be a pillar of any principles related to the responsible investment in agriculture and food systems. These rights are integral elements of the right to take part in cultural life, which is interdependent of the right of all peoples to self-determination and the right to an adequate standard of living. I ask that all members of the committee support the inclusion of the bracketed text. Failure to ensure this provision is secured within a final text undermines respect for these rights, thereby putting at risk the sources of livelihood and culture for many indigenous communities.
  • Sep 23, 2014
    Governments should make an urgent commitment to protect people from the harmful effects of mercury by signing and ratifying the new Minamata Convention on Mercury. The Minamata Convention, adopted in October 2013, obliges governments to reduce mercury use and emissions globally and is an important tool to protect the right to health.
  • Aug 13, 2014
  • Jul 30, 2014
    The emerging Brics economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – struck an agreement this month to establish a development bank with an initial capital of $100bn. The Brics want the bank to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects. From the outset, it should adopt open and transparent processes, and environmental and social rules, that are the best in the business. It should help communities become involved in the development of projects, invest in schemes that communities actually want, and ensure that its investments benefit the most marginalised people.
  • Jul 28, 2014
    A leaked draft of the World Bank’s proposed new social and environmental policies reveals significant erosion of protections for communities and the environment, Bank on Human Rights, a global coalition of nongovernmental organizations, social movements, and community groups said in a statement today to the World Bank board.