Press release | April 12, 2018

Global organisations raise the alarm for environmental defenders at the Skoll World Forum

On Thursday 12th April 2018 organisations from across the globe will come together in Oxford to discuss the growing crisis of violent attacks on those defending the environment and their land from exploitation.

Our 2017 report on Environmental Defenders showed that in 2017, almost 4 people a week were killed across the globe for standing up to the governments and companies that steal their land and harm the environment, and for calling out the corrupt and unjust practices that enable it.

Indigenous people bear the brunt of these attacks, and women face particular threats.

In addition to the environmental defenders from Brazil and Nigeria, a range of speakers will be featured at the event, including Bianca Jagger, as part of her work with the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, Alison Wright from the Environmental Defenders Fund, Patrick Alley, the co-Founder of Global Witness, and Rajasvini Bhansali, the Executive Director of Thousand Currents. 

Those who attend the event hosted by the Skoll World Forum and supported by a number of organisations from across the world, will hear directly from environmental defenders about the challenges and risks they face.

Claudelice Silva dos Santos, a forest defender from Pará (Brazil), whose brother and sister-in-law were tragically murdered in 2011, will join the event to bring attention to the courage of forest defenders and to denounce the threats and violence they face saying: “Now is not the time to be afraid and stay quiet, we must be brave and take action.”

Winner of the Goldman Prize for environmental activism in Nigeria, Odigha Odigha, whose life has been threatened multiple times, will also be in attendance.  

The discussion, open to the public on Thursday 12th April and taking place at Oxford Martin School, will look to examine root causes of the violence, including state and corporate responsibility and new approaches to protecting activists. It is hosted during the Skoll World Forum and supported by a number of organisations around the world. 

Patrick Alley, Co-founder of Global Witness said:

“This discussion in Oxford comes at a crucial time, as violence towards environmental defenders continues on a devastating scale. It has never been more important to protect the environment, and it has never been more deadly. The battle for the environment is emerging as a new battleground for human rights.”

Rajasvini Bhansali, Executive Director of Thousand Currents said:

“The more rooted an protector of Mother Earth is, the more effective, impactful, and targeted they will be. When the powerful extinguish the powerful light of Indigenous women like Berta Cáceres and so many others, it is up to all of us to burn brighter.”

Fran Lambrick, Co-Founder of Not1More said:

“The environment is a war zone. International corporations that profit from the abuse of environmental rights are plundering the natural resources that secure our future. They are complicit in a supply chain of violence. Activists who protect forests, lands, rivers and seas are sacrificing their security, their peace of mind, their freedom or even their lives to defend the environment.”



Notes to editor:

  • This event is hosted by the Skoll World Forum in Oxford and has been jointly organised and supported by: Not1More, Grassroots Climate Solutions Fund, Global Witness, Thousand Currents, Environmental Defenders Fund of the Biodiversity Funders Group, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests, Trust for Mutual Understanding

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