World’s first special rapporteur on environmental defenders elected

During the seventh session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention (Geneva, 18-21 October 2021), the Parties have agreed to establish a rapid response mechanism to deal with cases related to article 3 (8) of the Convention. On 24 June 2022 the French national Michel Forst was elected to be the first Special Rapporteur on Environmental Defenders for 2 years. From this day onwards Michel Foster has been provided with the task to protect and defend environmental defenders, who may suffer or be subject to imminent punishment, persecution or harassment for seeking to exercise their rights under the Aarhus Convention. To quickly and effectively resolve complaints and protect environmental advocates the Special Rapporteur has several tools, including immediate and ongoing protection measures, using diplomatic channels, publishing public statements or bringing the issue to the attention of other relevant human rights bodies, as well as relevant governments and heads of state.

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Photo: Flickr, Jean -Marc Ferre