‘Human, land rights defenders vital to any democracy’—EU
A European Union-backed project aimed at enhancing the protection of rights defenders working on land and environmental issues was launched on Wednesday.
The launch of “Joint Action for Land Rights” came following the release of a report from Global Witness claiming that 33 out of 185 environmental rights defenders killed last year were from the Philippines making it second to Brazil in terms of number of slain defenders.
Jerome Riviere, first secretary of the EU delegation to the Philippines, reiterated the union’s support for the initiative, noting that human rights and land rights defenders are “vital to any democracy.”
A consortium of human rights organization led by People in Need Inc. launched on Wednesday a project called “Joint Action for Land Rights” to enhance the protection of rights defenders working on land and environmental issues.
“Human rights defenders constitute one of the major priorities of the EU’s external human rights policy and are therefore natural and indispensable allies in the promotion of human rights and democratization in their respective countries,” Riviere said.
Canny Geyer, country director for People in Need, lamented that rights defenders were being threatened, harassed and sometimes killed for exercising civic rights and fundamental freedoms.
“The project focuses on land rights as an emerging issue in the field of human rights. Land rights stand as a key human rights issue since the fulfilment of many human rights may depend directly on land, including economic, social and cultural rights,” said Anthony Marzan, director of non-government organization KAISAHAN, which was a partner for the project.
The two-year project is supported by EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) with a grant of EUR 600,000. YG/RAM
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