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Report on climate and human rights and the case of Steven Donziger

A safe and healthy environment is a human right! But companies and governments still often get away lightly when they destroy the environment. In Honduras, for example, a mining operation is polluting an important source of drinking water; in the Philippines, activists who are fighting the destruction of the environment are being threatened. Meanwhile, rising temperatures reduce hunting grounds in the Arctic, and forest fires have had a devastating impact in Portugal. One ray of hope: In Nigeria, Shell was recently convicted because of oil spills caused by the company.

In the European Parliament, we passed a report this week that addresses the issue of climate and human rights. I was shadow rapporteur for the resolution. Our demands, among others: We must

  • better protect environmental and human rights defenders
  • hold governments and companies accountable
  • promote the recognition of ecocide as a crime
  • strengthen the possibility of climate lawsuits

In my plenary speech on the subject, I mentioned the case of Steven Donziger. The lawyer and environmental activist campaigning for the rights of indigenous peoples won a groundbreaking case in 2011. His clients: the victims of oil spills in Ecuador, for which the company Chevron was responsible. Now, however, Steven Donziger is the one facing a lawsuit. Following more than 600 days under house arrest, he has been on trial in the US since 10 May. Organisations such as Amnesty International, 68 Nobel laureates and U.S. members of Congress such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have spoken out on his behalf.

Together with my colleagues from the Subcommittee on Human Rights, I have sent a letter to EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell urging him to raise Donziger's case in meetings with US authorities. The EU's representation in the United States must follow the court case closely and attend the trial!

My Twitter thread on the topic of climate and human rights:

My plenary speech:

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