PROTECTING OUR COMMON HOME:
LAND AND ENVIRONMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN LATIN AMERICA
A CAFOD report, July 2021
This report is based on research by Ana Reyes-Hurt from 2019 to 2021 on the current trends of human rights abuses faced by land and environmental human rights defenders (HRDs) across six countries in Latin America – Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru.
For each country, the challenges and dangers they are facing are detailed. The report finds that both states and businesses act with disregard for human rights and the environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the deep inequalities across the region and has led to increased threats to and attacks on land and environmental HRDs and their communities. Much of this is intrinsically linked to access to and control over land and territories. Against a backdrop of limited state presence, huge power asymmetries between companies, states and local communities, and widespread impunity, HRDs often have nowhere to turn to for protection.
The report shares learning on the different strategies and approaches being used by HRDs to push for change and recommends ways that states (including Latin American governments as well as those around the world), businesses and investors, can support the work of HRDs and protect them from the attacks they face.
Besides recommendations for UK legislation to prevent human rights and environment violations in the supply chains of UK companies, it calls for a strong EU due diligence law, and a UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights.
Cover photo: Indigenous women in La Guajira, Colombia, play a vital role in defending their land, livelihoods and water sources from large-scale mining