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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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One of Many Countries Waking Up to the Dangers of Chlorpyrifos

Last week, the Canadian government quietly released a three-year plan to phase out use of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. As Human Rights Watch has reported, the health risks associated with exposure to chlorpyrifos are well-documented. These…
Works plant strawberries farming quebec
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More Ambitious Measures Needed to Protect Human Rights

At the US Climate Summit today, top ten greenhouse gas emitter Canada announced its long-awaited new emissions reduction target for 2030. While Canada has been at pains to present itself as a climate leader and ally alongside the US, with the new…
Justin Trudeau
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Marking Five Years of Ongoing First Nations Water Crisis

Where would we be without water to drink, to wash and cook with, and to keep us healthy and alive? Water is essential. But as we mark another World Water Day, many First Nations communities in Canada still don’t have access to safe water. Five…
Water jugs in the community water center in Grassy Narrows, Canada. April 13, 2016. © 2016 Human Rights Watch
News

Phase Out Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Support First Nations in Budget 2021

Climate change was top of the agenda yesterday as US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met virtually to identify priorities for collaboration. Both countries committed to working together to accelerate action on…
Sun sets over snowy plains
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Proposed Legislation Falls Short

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has tabled legislation that would increase transparency of government efforts to meet climate change commitments.  Bill C-12, tabled November 19, would require the government to set and…
Weenusk First Nation member, Mike Wabano, sets up camp for caribou hunting on a frozen river near Peawanuck, December 14, 2019. As a result of warming temperatures, ice and snow cover is often thinner and more unstable.
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Canada Is Failing Indigenous Peoples Facing Threats to Food, Health, and Land

In some of the most remote stretches of Canada – from the provincial norths to the territories – First Nations are facing serious threats to their ways of life because of the effects of climate change. A rapidly changing environment means harvesting food…
Weenusk First Nations members packing their sleds ahead of a hunt near Peawanuck, Ontario, December 14, 2019.
News

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.…
News

Mercury Contamination Sickens, Kills Indigenous Community Members

June 27 marks three years since federal and provincial authorities in Ontario, Canada, promised to clean up decades-old mercury contamination. Affected Indigenous residents are still waiting. In the 1960s and early 1970s, a chemical plant dumped…
Sign entering Grassy Narrows First Nation, in northwestern Ontario, Canada.
News

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
News

Proposed Reparations Bill Chance to Compensate Post-Election Rape Survivors

This weekend, I received the sad news that Chepkorir had died. Chepkorir, whose name I have changed to protect her privacy, was raped in December 2007. The men who raped her beat her badly and she had been struggling with poor health…
News

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.
News

Montreal Summit Provides Important Platform to Support Global Justice

In a first-of-its-kind summit, the world’s female foreign ministers will meet in Montreal today and tomorrow to discuss a range of global challenges, from advancing peace and security to eliminating violence against women and girls in…
201809americas_canada_europe_eu_freeland_mogherini
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Suits Increasingly Used to Hamper Environmental Activism

Today, a US federal court heard arguments in a lawsuit against Greenpeace that raises serious concerns about freedom of expression. In May 2016, Resolute Forest Products, a Canada-based logging company, filed a CAD$300 million lawsuit…
A workers unloads a truckload of logs in Howe Sound near Squamish, British Columbia, Canada April 25, 2017.
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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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More Protection, Support for Victims Needed

Human Rights Watch research confirms that, once again, there was sexual violence against women and girls during the most recent post-election violence in Kenya. I interviewed over 50 victims and witnesses in Mathare, Kisumu, Bungoma, and Dandora.…
Kenya
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First Nations Leadership is Key to Addressing Polluted Drinking Water

Canada has unveiled a new approach to fixing the drinking water crisis faced by indigenous First Nations peoples. Carolyn Bennett, minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), reaffirmed the 2016 budget commitment to $1.8 billion over…
Canada's Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, February 24, 2016.
News

Health Impacts on First Nations Communities Require Urgent Attention

Last week, the Ontario provincial government announced it was “completely committed” to a thorough clean-up of mercury in the English Wabigoon River in northwestern Ontario. Mercury has had a devastating effect on the health and livelihoods of hundreds of…
Sign entering Grassy Narrows, Ontario, Canada.
News

“Hard Targets” to End Boil-Water Advisories for Many Indigenous People

In his 2015 campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a commitment to end long-term boil-water advisories in all First Nations, Canada’s indigenous populations, in five years. For a country as water-rich as Canada, you would expect this to be an easy…
Roxanne Moonias, mother to an infant with a chronic illness, demonstrates one of the steps she takes to ensure her baby is not exposed to contaminants in the water. Roxanne lives in Neskantaga First Nation and says that it takes her an hour each time to p
News

Protecting Children of Rape, the Invisible Victims of Conflict and Political Violence

Akinyi was only 11 years old when three men broke into her home in Kericho, Kenya, in December 2007, as post-election violence raged, and gang raped her and her mother. Akinyi became pregnant, but did not want anything to do with the baby girl she bore.…
Nafula K.,46, was gang raped together with three other women by four men in January 2008 while at an IDP camp.