(Washington D.C) - The President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has labelled as ‘a total disgrace’ the failure of States in the Americas to adequately protect defenders of rights to land, territory and environment, after hearing the testimony of defenders representing a coalition of 39 organisations, at a landmark hearing in Washington D.C.

The coalition, of which ISHR was a convening member, also launched a new report, covering 17 countries, which documents the specific and additional risks faced by human rights defenders working on issues related to business. The President noted that the protection of this group of defenders is a priority for the IACHR, although she acknowledged that a continued lack of resources deeply undermines the IACHR’s ability to respond adequately.

Key points
  • Major new report, compiled by 39 organisations covering 17 countries, documents elevated risks face by those advocating for land, territory and environment rights in the Americas, with defenders subject to criminalisation, surveillance, kidnap and even murder by both State and business actors.
  • President of Inter-American Commission labels failure of governments to adequately protect defenders or to ensure accountability and an end to impunity for attacks against them a 'total disgrace'
  • Report sets out over 40 recommendations to States, business enterprises and other actors to prevent criminalisation and attacks against defenders and ensure a safe and enabling environment for their vital work to promote corporate accountability, sustainable development and human rights.