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The Escazu Agreement – environmental and human rights


Image Source Amnesty International South America

Well over due in a time when in South America the death rate and torture of environmental activists is the highest anywhere in the world, I have personally witnessed the wrongful imprisonment, torture, loss and deaths of many of my colleagues to this and although this is a step forward, it is still very much a painful reality in Latin America. The article below comes from Amnesty International. I hope that this helps those of us who have given our lives to this cause, however it will not replace the freedom lost by those currently imprisoned or bring back the hundreds of thousands that have died  for defending the protection of nature.

”Twelve countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have signed the Escazu Agreement into an important victory for the environment and human rights that should inspire the rest of the region to follow its example, Amnesty International said today.
Argentina, Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Saint Lucia and Uruguay have signed the treaty today, at the first opportunity, at the beginning of the meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York, while the Dominican Republic and Haiti have also committed to signing in the next few hours.
“As the first regional environmental treaty in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Escazú Agreement sets a historic precedent to guarantee the right of all people to a clean and healthy environment, making sure that all voices can be heard when it is time to take important decisions that affect us all, “said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director of Amnesty International.
“The leadership of the twelve countries that have signed the agreement today should serve as inspiration for the rest of the region and the world. We urge all other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to follow their example without delay, for the survival and well-being of current and future generations. ”
Adopted on March 4, 2018 in San Jose, Costa Rica, by representatives of 24 countries including Ecuador, the treaty implements Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, adopted at the Earth Summit in 1992, by establishing safeguards for access rights to the information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters. The agreement also imposes specific obligations to protect from threats and attacks to people who defend human rights related to the environment, to investigate and punish any aggression against these people, and to guarantee their rights to life and personal integrity, as well as the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, movement, expression and association.
“The Escazú Agreement is the first treaty in history that includes specific provisions to protect those who defend the environment, setting an example for the entire world. It represents a vital opportunity to establish accountability for human rights violations related to the environment, “Erika Guevara Rosas continued.
“But the mere signing of the Treaty is not enough. The signatory countries must ratify it now without delay and take concrete measures to ensure that it lives up to its ambitious ideals and that decisions on the environment truly reflect the opinions, needs and rights of the people most affected. ”
As of today, the 33 states of Latin America and the Caribbean have the opportunity to sign the agreement at the UN headquarters in New York. To enter into force, at least 11 countries must sign and ratify it before September 27, 2020.”—Amnesty International.

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