Here’s a shameful fact about the 21st century: Standing up for the planet can get you killed.
In the Peruvian Amazon, three Indigenous leaders were murdered in the span of three weeks during February and March of this year: Herasmo García Grau, Yenes Ríos Bonsano and Estela Casanto Mauricio. All of them were attempting to secure land rights over their territories to stop illegal deforestation by, among others, coca and oil palm plantations.
Jiribati Ashaninka, president of ORAU, an alliance of 15 Indigenous peoples in Peru, spoke to me in March by Zoom from his home in Ucayali, the region where the recent killings took place. “Our communities have asked us leaders to fight’’ against land grabbing and illegal deforestation, he said. “They have asked us to claim our rights, and because of that we are at risk.”
The risk he describes exists outside Peru as well. Global Witness counted 212 publicly reported killings of environmental defenders worldwide in 2019, the largest number since it started tracking in 2012. (The 2020 count is not yet published).
Ashaninka said every murder sends a message. “Some of our leaders have gone silent on the issue of land rights,” he said. “Some have gone deeper into the forest to hide.” He said killings have occurred for years, but no one has ever been convicted. Peru’s minister of internal affairs sometimes issues a report, he said, but “that isn’t useful when you’re dead.”
Deforestation could turn the Amazon from a carbon sink into a carbon source. By fighting for their home, people such as Grau, Ríos and Casanto are protecting all of us. But they aren’t given the kinds of legal protections extended to witnesses in criminal cases or corporate whistleblowers.
A new regional pact, the Escazú agreement, which comes into force in Latin America and the Caribbean on Earth Day, Thursday, would be the first to require member nations to provide legal protections to environmental defenders.
The agreement also aims to make environmental regulation more responsive to communities facing harm. Member governments are required to disclose information about proposed industrial projects, ensure early and genuine community participation in permitting decisions, and create effective remedies when companies exceed pollution limits or seize land unlawfully.
The Escazú agreement is overdue. My organization helps organize a network of more than 2,500 grass-roots justice groups from nearly every country in the world. The specifics vary, but the basic pattern is everywhere, from Odisha, India; to KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; to Washington, D.C.: Communities with less power bear the brunt of environmental degradation, and when they try to stand up for themselves, they face intimidation and retaliation.
President Biden, to his credit, has acknowledged this connection between environmental destruction and inequality by prioritizing environmental justice in his domestic plans.
But global environmental policy, including Biden’s approach to it, continues to be largely technocratic and top-down, focused on national commitments to transfer technology and reduce emissions. Those measures are necessary but not sufficient. The Escazú agreement shows what global environmental justice policy could look like.
You might wonder whether international agreements are worth much, given the severe power imbalances at play and the fact that many governments are embracing hyper-nationalism. But activists report that Escazú has already made a difference.
Gabriela Burdiles, a lawyer with the Chilean environmental justice group FIMA, told me that multilateral negotiations over Escazú have helped make environmental rights a prominent subject in the debate over Chile’s new constitution. Aída Gamboa Balbín, who leads the Amazon program of the Peruvian organization Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, said that, without the Escazú negotiations, civil society would not have been able to persuade the Peruvian government to create its first court dedicated to environmental crimes, which happened in 2018.
In the 12 countries that have ratified Escazú, including Mexico, Bolivia and Argentina, the real work begins this week, when local environmental justice movements will start pushing for effective implementation. Burdiles, who coordinates with advocates throughout the region, says having the common lever of the agreement will make those movements stronger.
If the Biden administration is willing to take environmental justice seriously abroad as well as at home, it should support negotiations for a global Escazú agreement as Part 2 of the Paris climate accord. It’s both a matter of justice and a matter of planetary survival. “You can’t have climate change without sacrifice zones,” writes Hop Hopkins, an urban farmer and environmental justice organizer. “And you can’t have sacrifice zones without disposable people.”
Those who profit from sacrifice zones regularly collaborate across national borders. It’s time that those working to ensure that no community is disposable have the tools and legal framework to work across borders, too.
Last updated January 30, 2013.
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Welcome to the namati.org website (the “Site”) and the Legal Empowerment Network Forum (the “Forum”) operated by Namati, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Namati”, “we”, “us” or “our”). We share your concern about the protection of your personal information online.
This Policy describes our privacy practices and sets out your obligations and ours with respect to your use of the Site and the Forum. This Policy applies only to the Site and the Forum and does not necessarily apply to our offline collection of information.
Namati may collect and retain two types of information about Site and Forum visitors: (i) personal information that individual visitors voluntarily provide when interacting on the Site or Forum or on certain other occasions (such as via forms or in emails); and (ii) tracking data, which is data that is automatically collected from every Site and Forum visitor as they use and browse the site.
We may, from time to time, store and archive the information you submit to or through the Site and Forum. The information that we gather may include your name, title, and address, telephone number, email address, credit card number or other elements of personal information. In addition, if you contact us, we may keep a record of your correspondence, including any information contained therein.
You may decline to provide any personal information, but please realize that you thereby may be unable to register or to participate in activities or services offered on the Site and/or Forum.
In addition to the information you submit to or through the Site and Forum, we also may collect and store data from and about you gathered in the course of your use of the Site and Forum. We call this “tracking data.”
Such tracking data may include, but is not limited to, information regarding the number and frequency of visits to the Site and Forum, the websites that you access before and after you visit the Site and Forum, the software and operating system used to access the Site and Forum, and your IP address and Internet service provider.
Our use of your Information involves various forms of communication with you, including:
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We retain the right to transfer or assign all information pursuant to a merger, purchase or other transaction relating to Namati or our assets.
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Personal information you submit via your member account, other than information provided or content posted by you to public areas of the Site as described below, is deleted from Namati’s records following the deletion of your account. However, such information may continue to be retained by third-party service providers to which it has been disclosed for one of the reasons listed above. Any financial records will be kept in accordance with Namati’s data retention policy.
Your Information is stored on Digital Ocean servers in New York, USA, and WPengine servers located in Texas, USA. When you provide personal information to us, we request your consent to transfer that personal information to the USA. The USA does not have an adequacy decision from the European Commission, which means that the Commission has not determined that the laws of the USA provide adequate protection for personal information. Although the laws of the USA do not provide legal protection that is equivalent to the EU GDPR, we safeguard your personal information by treating it in accordance with this Policy. We take appropriate steps to protect your privacy and implement reasonable security measures to protect your personal information in storage. We use secure transmission methods to collect personal data through our website. We also enter into contracts with our data processors that require them to treat personal information in a manner that is consistent with this Policy.
We have put in place appropriate security measures to prevent your personal data from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorized way, altered or disclosed. In addition, we limit access to your personal data to those employees, agents, contractors and other third parties who have a business need to know. They will only process your personal data on our instructions and they are subject to a duty of confidentiality.
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You should be aware that any information provided or content posted by you to public areas of the Site, including but not limited to interactions on the Site and information posted to the Member Directory (via your profile), the Resource Library, and the Forum, may be read, collected or used by other visitors of the Site, who may not need to log in as a member to view the information. Namati is not responsible for the third-party use of any information provided in such manner. By participating in the use of the Site’s interactive features, you consent to Namati’s use or disclosure of any content that you submit. For more information on posting content, please see our Terms.
The Forum uses data about your posts and other activity to make automated decisions about whether your posts are spam.
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If a user elects to use our referral service to inform a friend about the Site and Forum, we request the name and email address of the friend. Namati will automatically send the friend a one-time email inviting the friend to visit the Site. Namati stores this information for the sole purpose of sending this one-time email, and, while a third-party mail service provider may retain the information in its database, no additional emails will be sent by Namati without further action by the friend.
Namati is concerned about the privacy protection of children who access the Internet and this website is not intended for children and we do not knowingly collect data relating to children. Accordingly, the Site and Forum are not intended for use by anyone under the age of 16, and we do not knowingly collect information from anyone under 16 years of age without the consent of a parent or guardian.
We reserve the right to disclose any information to comply with any law, regulation, decree, judgment, order, subpoena or any other governmental order (“Order”) without any obligation to contest or verify the accuracy of such Order.
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The section titles in this Policy are for convenience only and have no legal or contractual effect. The Site, the Learning Site, the Forum, and any third-party services they use, may be subject to additional terms and conditions regarding privacy and use of information. Your use of the Site and the Forum is subject to those terms and conditions, which are incorporated into this Policy by reference. In the event of an inconsistency between this Policy and any additional posted conditions, the provisions of the additional conditions shall control.
We may need to change the Policy from time to time in order to address new issues and to reflect changes on the Site or in the law. We reserve the right to revise or make any changes to the Policy, and your continued use of the Site subsequent to any changes to this Policy will mean that you agree to and accept such changes. You can tell if the Policy has been updated by checking the last revised date posted on the top of this page. Historic versions can be obtained by contacting us at email@example.com.
You can also access, remove, update or correct your information, and raise any questions or concerns regarding the Site or the Policy, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailing:
Namati Data Protection Officer
1616 P Street NW, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20036, USA
It is important that the personal data we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal data changes during your relationship with us.
You have the right to:
Request access to your personal data (commonly known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal data we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
Request correction of the personal data that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate data we hold about you corrected, though we may need to verify the accuracy of the new data you provide to us.
Request erasure of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal data where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal data where you have successfully exercised your right to object to processing (see below), where we may have processed your information unlawfully or where we are required to erase your personal data to comply with local law. Note, however, that we may not always be able to comply with your request of erasure for specific legal reasons which will be notified to you, if applicable, at the time of your request.
Object to processing of your personal data where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground as you feel it has an impact on your fundamental rights and freedoms. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal data for direct marketing purposes. In some cases, we may demonstrate that we have compelling legitimate grounds to process your information which override your rights and freedoms.
Request restriction of processing of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of your personal data in the following scenarios:
Request the transfer of your personal data to you or to a third party. We will provide to you, or a third party you have chosen, your personal data in a structured, commonly used, machine-readable format. Note that this right only applies to automated information which you initially provided consent for us to use or where we used the information to perform a contract with you.
Withdraw consent at any time where we are relying on consent to process your personal data. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before you withdraw your consent. If you withdraw your consent, we may not be able to provide certain products or services to you. We will advise you if this is the case at the time you withdraw your consent.
You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal data (or to exercise any of the other rights). However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request is clearly unfounded, repetitive or excessive. Alternatively, we could refuse to comply with your request in these circumstances.
We may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access your personal data (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is a security measure to ensure that personal data is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it. We may also contact you to ask you for further information in relation to your request to speed up our response.
We try to respond to all legitimate requests within one month. Occasionally it could take us longer than a month if your request is particularly complex or you have made a number of requests. In this case, we will notify you and keep you updated.
If you live in an EEA Member State, all of which have adopted the EU GDPR and national , you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority about this policy and its application. The European Commission has a list of EU national data protection authorities here:
If you live in the United Kingdom, you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority, the ICO, about this policy and its application:
The Policy was updated in July 2022 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.