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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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European Commission Should Hold Government Accountable for Violating Fundamental Rights

The message was clear at this week’s European Parliament hearing on Poland’s near-ban on abortion: the European Commission should act decisively to protect the lives and rights of women and girls and stop erosion of the values on which the European…
Women's rights activists, holding posters of the Women's Strike action, protest further tightening of Poland's restrictive abortion law in front of the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
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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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Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the UDHR at COP24

Today, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, governments at the climate summit COP24 in Poland are working around the clock to finalize the Paris “Rulebook” – the regulations that will guide the…
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Denials Come in Wake of New Law That Restricts Protest Rights

When I traveled to Poland to attend the United Nations climate conference yesterday, I passed through immigration without any problems. But not all representatives of civil society groups participating in the negotiations have been that lucky.…
Women climate change activists demand respect for rights at Paris Agreement signing ceremony outside the United Nations in New York, April 2016.
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On Black Protest Anniversary, Support for Women’s Rights Needed

On October 3, 2016, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Poland in defiance of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party’s attempt to enact a complete abortion ban.  #CzarnyProtest, or Black Protest, and #StrajkKobiet (…
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Bill Will Limit Protests During COP24 Summit

In mid-January, the Polish parliament passed a government-sponsored bill which, will hamper the rights of environmental activists to protest at UN climate talks in December and subject them to government surveillance. President Andrzej Duda signed…
Environmental activists chain themselves to a logging machine during an action in the defence of one of the last primeval forests in Europe, Bialowieza forest, Poland May 24, 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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Government Seeks to Limit Sales of ‘Morning After’ Pill

Poland’s government is again trying to curb women’s control over their bodies. After last year’s attempt to impose a near-total ban on abortion, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has introduced a bill to limit sales of…
Protesters hold coathangers to illustrate the danger to women’s safety posed by an outright ban on abortion © Reuters
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Draft Law Would Push Abortion into Back Alleys

Coat hangers strung from trees and piled up in front of government buildings by protesters serve as a grim reminder that women’s lives are at risk under Poland’s proposed new abortion law. The bill, now under review by…
Woman holds a placard as she takes part in an abortion rights campaigners' demonstration in front of the Parliament in Warsaw, Poland September 22, 2016. The placard reads: "Let's save women".
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Emily, a widow from rural western Kenya, lived and farmed on her husband’s land for more than 30 years. While her husband was alive, they lived comfortably, and her four children were happy in school. This ended abruptly when her husband died, and her in-…
Female farmers resettled to Mwaladzi received land with poor access to water and limited productivity. The compensation package also included a new house.
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Today, on Earth Day, six grassroots environmental activists awarded this year’s prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize will be honored during a ceremony in Washington, DC. One of the six Goldman Prize recipients is Kenya’s Phyllis Omido, who stood up to…