17 September 2020 - NPWJ News Digest on Environmental Justice & Human Rights


Deforestation and land-grabs bring Covid-19 threats to Amazon and Gran Chaco residents
Unearthed , 17 Sep 2020

Indigenous leaders and NGOs from South America’s two largest forests have reported rising illegal deforestation and violence during the pandemic, with little government aid or oversight. For Deolinda Carrizo, an Indigenous leader from the Santiago del Estero province in Argentina, the emergence of Covid-19 has been a battle on two fronts. First, defending her community’s land against ongoing, increasingly frequent deforestation. And second, doing so in the middle of a global pandemic, facing an increased risk of Covid-19 transmission brought into the community by the deforesting teams on those very bulldozers.

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World Failed to Meet a Single Goal to Save Nature: UN Biodiversity Report
EcoWatch, 16 Sep 2020

 "Many good things are happening around the world and these should be celebrated and encouraged," UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema said in a press release. "Nevertheless, the rate of biodiversity loss is unprecedented in human history and pressures are intensifying. Earth's living systems as a whole are being compromised. And the more humanity exploits nature in unsustainable ways and undermines its contributions to people, the more we undermine our own wellbeing, security and prosperity."

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Chile’s Largest Indigenous Group Sees Opportunity in a New Constitution
The New York Times, 16 Sep 2020

Chile’s Mapuche have long demanded official recognition of their culture and of their claims to ancestral lands. A referendum over a new Constitution provides them a chance to be included.Hunger strikes. The occupation of a municipal building. Arson attacks against trucks traveling through southern Chile. The long-simmering conflict between the Mapuche, Chile’s largest Indigenous group, and the government over land rights and cultural recognition has escalated and spilled into violence in recent weeks, stoked by the economic pain that followed the pandemic.

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Rise in Amazon deforestation slows in August, but fires surge
Mongabay, 11 Sep 2020

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon was more than 20 percent lower for the second straight month according to data released by Brazil’s national space research institute INPE. But forest loss in the world’s largest rainforest remains well above the average of the past decade.Despite the relative decline during the past two months, deforestation detected by INPE’s short-term alert system has amounted to 8,850 square kilometers over the past year, 10% higher than a year ago when Amazon deforestation hit the highest level since 2008.

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Environmental human rights defenders in Mexico: The issue of structural violence
Open Democracy, 10 Sep 2020

According to the most recent report by the Mexican Center for Environmental Law, between 2012 and 2019, there were 499 attacks on land and environment activists that took place across the vast majority of states. This indicates permanent and diffuse standards and practices that culminate in the systematic and widespread violation of this vulnerable group's right to life, integrity and personal security, judicial protection and procedural guarantees. The violence suffered by environmental human rights defenders, their organizations and communities, in addition to being direct, is structural in nature.

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