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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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Yoshihide Suga, Prime Minister of Japan Taro Aso, Minister of Finance Hiroshi Kajiyama, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Tadashi Maeda, Governor, Japan Bank for International Cooperation Atsuro Kuroda, Chairman and CEO, Nippon Export and…
Coal ash swirls on the surface of the Dan River in Danville, Virginia
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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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Japan Beverage Giant Pledges to Address Human Rights Concerns

(Tokyo) – Japan-based Kirin Holdings Company, Ltd. should end its partnership with Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (MEHL) because of its connections to Myanmar’s abusive armed forces, Human Rights Now, Human Rights Watch, Japan Volunteer International…
Plastic crates containing Kirin brand beer at the Kirin Brewery Co. factory in Yokohama, Japan, June 2019. 
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Drowned out by the noise of the Rugby World Cup and overshadowed by the deadly devastation wrought by Typhoon Hagibis was a meeting between Japan’s leaders and an alleged war criminal, which went largely unreported by the media and unnoticed by the…
Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese politician, diplomat, author, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate (1991), meets Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Akasaka Palace in Minato Ward, Tokyo on October 21, 2019. Aung San Suu Kyi comes to Japan to attend an enthronement
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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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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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Pressure is building on Afghan and Somali refugees to go home, even if they no longer have homes to return to. It is not surprising that this pressure is coming from governments that have been hosting huge numbers of refugees and want…
Member of Greek Red Cross helps an Afghan refugee who has just arrived from Turkey with an inflatable boat in the area of airport of Mytilene, Lesvos Island, Greece.
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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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Camp Closure Threat Triggers Thousands Returning to Danger

(Nairobi) – Kenya’s repatriation program for Somali refugees, fueled by fear and misinformation, does not meet international standards for voluntary refugee return. Many refugees living in Kenya’s sprawling Dadaab camp, home to at least 263,000 Somalis,…
Photo of Somali refugees getting on buses to leave Dadaab refugee camp.
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This week, Japan took a historic step in tackling the global threat of mercury: it joined the Minamata Convention on Mercury. The treaty is named after the Japanese fishing town of Minamata, where one of the world’s worst mercury poisoning disasters…
Minamata memorial
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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…