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New agreement brings hope for protecting environmental activism

After nearly six years of negotiations, 14 countries signed the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice on Environmental Issues in Latin America and the Caribbean (‘the Escazú Agreement’) in 2018. Signatory states are obliged to adopt measures to hold the perpetrators of attacks against defenders accountable, and to ensure a safe environment for the promotion of human rights in environmental matters.

It is hoped that the measures will protect civic space in the region. One of the agreement’s main strengths is that it is binding, meaning it has the status of law in the countries that have ratified it. The agreement is also the first international treaty to determine specific actions that states must carry out to protect environmental defenders.[1]

The signatories are Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Saint Lucia, Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.[2]

 

[1] ARTICLE 19, International Annual Report 2018, available at https://www.article19.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/ARTICLE19_Annual_report_2019-WEB.pdf

[2] Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Fourteen Countries Sign New Generation Agreement at UN Headquarters on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters, 27 September 2018, available at https://www.cepal.org/en/pressreleases/fourteen-countries-sign-new-generation-agreement-un-headquarters-access-information

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