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With the start of the new year, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the evolution of EarthRights, our accomplishments and impact, and the opportunities that await us. It’s been over 25 years since I teamed up with two young American lawyers to take on human rights abuses in my native Burma (now Myanmar). Back then, I never imagined our efforts to protect earth rights in the Mekong region would evolve into a global movement. 

I am proud of our work to fill a gap in global efforts to protect defenders and demand climate justice and corporate accountability. We are leaders in this space due to our strong partnerships in the Amazon, Mekong, U.S., and our emerging partnerships worldwide. Of course, our work is only possible due to supporters like you.

We have a lot to look forward to this year and beyond. Recently, I’ve evaluated how we can position EarthRights to be stronger than ever and how I can effectively lead us to where we need to be. The last few years have brought many changes; one thing that will never change is my commitment to helping those who protect our human and environmental rights. 

That’s why, after careful consideration and soul searching, I have decided to step away from my day-to-day responsibilities as Executive Director by the end of 2023 to focus my energies within the organization where they are needed most: working directly with frontline communities in the Mekong region

That is where my true passion lies. I know I am the most effective when telling the story of EarthRights, liaising with partners and funders, and supporting and training the next generation of earth rights defenders while helping them share their voices with a global audience. Over the coming months, I will work closely with our Board of Directors to ensure an effective leadership search and a smooth transition. 

Like the defenders who inspire me daily, EarthRights is very resilient, and we are currently very strong, thanks to our funders and supporters like you. While change is always bittersweet, I know that EarthRights is well-positioned to continue its great work and take on this evolution too. I’ll be right there with you. 

In solidarity, 

Ka Hsaw Wa