NPWJ welcomes the UN General Assembly’s recognition of the human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment

Brussels-Rome-New York, 28 July 2022

No Peace Without Justice welcomes the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of a resolution recognizing the right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a universal human right, as a landmark move towards increased accountability of states and other actors, including businesses, for their actions towards our environment.
 
Human wellbeing cannot be achieved without tackling and reversing the ongoing environmental crisis. The right to a healthy environment not only ensures the respect and fulfillment of human dignity, it also guarantees human existence, especially regarding future generations, children, women, indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups. The dignity of all persons must be protected both individually and collectively, and both substantively and procedurally, from the natural and human-made degradation of the environment and the impacts of climate change.
 
Within this context, indigenous people and environmental defenders in particular - who are fighting against the devastation of their lands and territories - are facing unprecedented threats and their fundamental rights are at risk.  NPWJ stresses the importance of ensuring the ability of environmental defenders to undertake their work effectively, efficiently and safely, and thus free of threats or retaliation practices. They play an invaluable role to increase understanding and awareness of sustainable development challenges and to protect biodiversity from the harmful effects of activities such as deforestation, fires, land-grabbing. 
 
NPWJ looks forward to the UNGA’s resolution adopted today to create the foundation for strengthening the environmental policies and legislation of States, providing wider support and legitimacy and thus improving their environmental performance. The damage to ecosystems such as the Amazon is not being done by accident: much of the devastation is a result of deliberate choices and policies that can be reversed. Member States should now take swift and bold actions to guarantee respect for the human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
 
Background
Through its campaign against deforestation in the Amazon, launched in 2019 with the support of the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation and local partners, NPWJ is at the forefront in the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and against the impunity for ecocide and environmental damage in the region. One of the main objectives of the campaign is to raise awareness about the effects of climate crimes such as land grabbing, deforestation or water pollution as well as to promote accountability’s venues for holding those responsible for crimes against nature and its defenders accountable. This should be a priority on the agenda of all those who recognize the importance of this forest for the ecological balance of the planet and for the preservation of native peoples, flora and fauna, heritage of humanity.

For further information, please contact Juan Guzman, Amazonia Project Associate (juzman@npwj.org) or Nicola Giovannini, Press & Public Affairs Coordinator on ngiovannini@npwj.org.