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Government financial support for fossil fuels, including through subsidies, presents a key obstacle to achieving emissions reductions urgently needed to address the climate crisis. Subsidies artificially reduce the costs of fossil fuel production and…
Pumpjacks at an oil well site near Epping, N.D., Oct. 1, 2018. © 2018 Jim Wilson/The New York Times/GDA via AP Images
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Civil Society Participation Key to Success at UN Climate Talks

At this month’s virtual climate negotiations several United Nations officials and governments highlighted the importance of civil society participation in climate action. Yet at the summit’s plenary session, time ran out before civil society…
Residents and environmental activists on Lamu island, Kenya, protest the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project on March 1, 2012.  © 2012 Reuters/Joseph Okanga
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A case pending before Colombia’s Constitutional Court, brought by Causa Justa, creates a landmark opportunity to end an approach to abortion that violates the rights of women and health workers by decriminalizing this critically important health care…
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(New York, August 13, 2020) – The Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdown are making it even harder for the Wayuu, an indigenous group in Colombia and Venezuela, to survive, Human Rights Watch and the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health said in a…
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(Nairobi, July 23, 2020) – Police violence and property destruction during evictions in Kenya’s Rift Valley and a lack of support afterward has caused deaths and desperation for the people evicted, Human Rights Watch said today. Since 2018, Kenyan…
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Government to Pay US$12 Million in Compensation for Smelter Pollution

In a victory for environmental health, last week, a Kenyan Court awarded $1.3 billion Ksh (USD12 million) to residents of Owino Uhuru, a suburb of Mombasa, for damages related to pollution from a nearby lead smelter that recycled lead-acid batteries.…
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Activists Opposing these Plans have Faced Threats and Harassment

Environmental activists in Kenya scored a unique victory last week. On June 26, the National Environmental Tribunal revoked a license issued to Amu Power Company to establish a controversial coal-fired power plant in Lamu. …
Environmental activists and petitioners listen to a tribunal ruling over the construction of a coal-fired power plant, at the supreme court building in Nairobi, Kenya
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Kenyan police and the military are harassing and intimidating environmental rights activists in Lamu county, coast region. At least 35 activists campaigning against the region’s mega infrastructure and transport projects have faced threats, beatings,…
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Activists in Lamu Challenge Power Despite Threats

Tell me about Lamu and the activists you spoke to. Lamu county is a beautiful, scenic tourist destination with long white beaches lined with palm trees and hotels and cafes catering to foreign and domestic tourists. The mostly-Muslim…
Residents and environmental activists  protesting against  lack of consultations and government failure to address environmental concerns in respect ofo the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project in Lamu island, Kenya, March 1, 2012.
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  Summary On May 25, 2018, police arrested two activists during a peaceful protest in Lamu town, Kenya. The activists, staff of the environmental groups, Save Lamu and Lamu Youth Alliance, were protesting the government’s decision to proceed…
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On International Women’s Day, Remember the Dangers Women Activists Face

It has been a year since Ruth Alicia Lopez Guisao, a rights activist in Colombia, was assassinated by unidentified gunmen. She was an outspoken community leader that worked with Afro-Colombian and indigenous groups on land reform in the western department…
Ruth Alicia López Guisao.
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State-run clinics are exempt from the ban on U.S. funding going to groups that provide abortion services. But many government clinics rely on essential support from NGOs, who can no longer afford to offer it, says Skye Wheeler of Human Rights Watch.

“We will just have to forget about the women who will suffer – money is just not enough, we won’t be able to reach the community at all.” This is what a senior staff member at a large health organization in Kenya told me in July this year. Her…
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UN Pollution Meeting Should Embrace Child Rights in its Resolutions

Bhopal, Chernobyl, and Minamata – these environmental disasters shocked the world. Yet, pollution results not only from catastrophic accidents but also from years of silent exposure. Children’s developing bodies are particularly…
“My name is Amina and I am twenty years old. I grew up here in the town of Bagega. I had six children. Three have died. Each time one died, I was so distraught and I was very traumatized.” Amina, Bagega, Zamfara state, Nigeria, 2011.
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Expanded ‘Mexico City’ Policy Causing Cuts in HIV, Reproductive Care

(Washington, DC) – Early effects of United States restrictions to global health aid include cuts to essential health services in Kenya and Uganda, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that was released today.…
A woman walks past a mural on a Family Health Options clinic in the Kibera slums in Nairobi, Kenya, May 16, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
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James lives in a Nairobi slum and takes care of his niece. Her mother died almost 10 years ago following complications from a botched abortion. She had become pregnant in a horrific gang rape. “She told us that she saw three men rape her and…
Women look on as residents talk to police officers after an attack in Panda Nguo, Lamu County on the northern coast of Kenya July 11, 2014.
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Lake Turkana Water Levels down, further drop expected

(Nairobi) – Dropping water levels in Kenya’s Lake Turkana following the development of dams and plantations in Ethiopia’s lower Omo Valley threaten the livelihoods of half a million indigenous people in Ethiopia and Kenya, Human Rights Watch said today.…
Boys fishing in Lake Turkana. The population of Turkana County is predominantly Turkana people, who rely on fishing in Lake Turkana for their livelihood.
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The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised concern among public health officials across the Americas. The World Health Organization warned Sunday that the virus is likely to spread further across the region. At first glance,…
A woman walks away from her apartment as health workers fumigates the Altos del Cerro neighborhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador January 21, 2016.
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Turkana County, Kenya

As delegates converge on Paris in November for the UN Climate Change Conference, the urgency of the need to address the human rights impacts of climate change is clear: the world’s marginalized communities—populations that are already vulnerable to human…
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  This remote region in Kenya’s north-west is known as the cradle of humankind. But it is a case study in how climate change forces people off their land. It was in Kenya’s Turkana County, near the border with Ethiopia, where one of the…