Jul 17, 2020

In authoritarian countries, environmental activists risk their lives to defend the environment, and face physical attacks, intimidation, and the threat of murder for their work. These environmental defenders play an important role in shining a light on governments’ abuses and corruption in countries where the rule of law is weaker, and where civil society, independent media, and the Internet are more restricted.

In the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, environmental defenders now more than ever depend on a free and open Internet, and digital tools to disseminate information on environmental crimes.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) will present a panel discussion titled “Defending The Defenders: Environmental Activism & Digital Rights” at the 2020 RightsCon Online. This session will focus on the need to protect the digital rights and spaces of environmental activists working in authoritarian countries from Russia to Cuba to Gabon and the Middle East. It will showcase the unique intersection of technology, human rights, and environmental activism.

Confirmed panelists include activists and Goldman Environmental Prize laureates Marc Ona and Evgeniya Chirikova, environmentalist Ariel Ruiz Urquiola, and environmental journalist Peter Schwartzstein.

This panel is supported by the City of Oslo, Norway, where HRF presented in 2019 the inaugural edition of this program to bring global awareness to the importance of protecting environmentalists operating in authoritarian countries who lack access to local NGOs, independent media, or legal protections for their work.

“Defending the Defenders: Environmental Activism and Digital Rights” is free and open to global audiences. To participate, please register here by July 20, 2020.