UNFCCC COP 20 NGO Press Conference
Press Conference Room 3
11:30am – 12:00 9 December 2015
Prominent International Rights of Nature Tribunal Offers Earth-Driven,
Not Market-Driven, Solutions to Climate Change
In an extraordinary display of global solidarity, vision and determination, communities and organizations from all over the world took the initiative this past weekend to formally establish the Third International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature. People flocked to the Maison des Métallos in Paris to listen to more than 65 people from 32 nationalities speaking in 7 languages who participated as judges, Earth Defenders, or witnesses during the two days of Tribunal hearings. More than 600 people attended the hearings on each of the two days and hundreds more had to be turned away due to lack of space. Eight prominent cases demonstrated that human rights, indigenous rights and earth rights are inseparable and the recognizing rights of nature provides a viable path forward in creating the future we want.
The participants of the Tribunal showed the strong, united leadership so lacking at COP 21 by signing the People’s Convention that formally established the Tribunal and opened the way to the creation of Regional Tribunals throughout the world. The Tribunal bases its judgements primarily on the Universal Declaration for the Rights of Mother Earth and international human rights law, but also recognized ecocide as a crime. The judgements provide clear direction in each case on who is accountable and on what must be done to repair the harm and restore Earth (and communities) to health and well-being. While governments participating in the COP 21 are locked in tortuous negotiations over the wording of an agreement that will worsen the destruction of Mother Earth, the people of the world demonstrated in this way what genuine global collaboration and solidarity can achieve.
Compelling cases heard during the Tribunal include:
False Solutions related to Climate Change
Commercialization of Nature and REDD+
Genetically modified organisms
Defenders of Mother Earth
Hydraulic fracturing "fracking"
Megadams in Brazil
Oil in the Amazon: Yasuni-ITT and Texaco Chevron as Ecocide Cases
In addition, 5 new cases were accepted for subsequent Tribunal hearings.
Tribunal members and case experts presenting to members of the press include:
Osprey Orielle Lake, US
Pablo Solon, Bolivia
The distinguished judges constituted the International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Paris: President - Cormac Cullinan (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, and author of Wild Law- South Africa); Tom Goldtooth (Indigenous Environmental Network, Turtle Island - USA);
Alberto Acosta (Economist and former president of the Constitutional Assembly - Ecuador); Osprey Orielle Lake (Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network - USA); Terisa Turner (International Oil Working Group, Friends of the Earth – Canada, professor – Canada and USA); Felicio Pontes (Federal Prosecutor - Brazil)
Damien Short (Director Human Rights Consortium, University of London - UK); Attosa Soltani (Amazon Watch founder - USA);
Nnimmo Bassey (Health of Mother Earth Foundation / Oilwatch - Nigeria);
Ruth Nyambura (African Biodiversity Network - Kenya); Christophe Bonneuil (Historian of Sciences, CNRS, Attac - France);
Philippe Desbrosses (Doctor in Environmental Sciences, Farmer, Intelligence Verte - France); - Honorary Judge on December 4th Dominique Bourg (philosopher and author, University of Lausanne, Switzerland).
Ramiro Avila, environmental attorney form Ecuador, and Linda Sheehan, Executive Director of Earth Law Center, served as Co-Prosecutors for the Earth.
Hosted by: The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, www.TheRightsofNature.org
Osprey Orielle Lake, firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalia Greene +593 (0) email@example.com