“2021 confirmed that EarthRights can fill a critical gap in global efforts to protect defenders and help the world avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis. We emerged as strategic leaders in this space, building on our partnerships in the Amazon, Mekong, and U.S. regions and linking local challenges to global trends to support reforms at multiple levels.
Looking ahead, we brace ourselves for future challenges, secure in the belief that by combining the power of law with the power of people and with the support of partners, funders, and donors, we can weather inevitable social and political challenges.”
Ka Hsaw Wa, EarthRights Co-Founder and Executive Director
2021 BY THE NUMBERS
New social media followers
Participants in our first-ever global convening
Ongoing legal cases
Major campaigns launched
2021 ACHIEVEMENTS AND VICTORIES
As the climate crisis continued to escalate in 2021, EarthRights was proud to lead global efforts to center Indigenous communities in the fight for climate justice. We made significant progress in our work to support frontline communities in their resistance to climate-damaging activities.
- We brought innovative training programs to new communities.
- In Thailand, we helped communities defend themselves from harmful extractive activity.
- We worked with water protectors in the U.S. to defend their right to oppose a destructive tar sands oil pipeline project.
- We amplified the voices of frontline defenders fighting climate destruction.
- We fought to have our landmark climate litigation case heard in local courts.
EARTH RIGHTS DEFENDERS
2021 presented new opportunities and challenges for EarthRights as we continued to work with defenders to protect their communities, rights, resources, and livelihoods from destructive development. EarthRights played a key role in international policy initiatives in 2021, coordinating closely with civil society partners to launch global trends toward recognizing the rights of environmental and human rights defenders.
- We helped defenders silenced by abusive lawsuits.
- We advocated for stronger protection measures for defenders in Honduras
- We supported activists besieged by Myanmar’s military junta.
- In the Mekong region, we helped activists develop the skills they need to stand up to destructive development.
- We advocated with members of Congress for stronger protections for environmental and human rights defenders.
From supporting deadly military juntas to destroying the natural resources of frontline communities, corporate corruption ran rampant in 2021. EarthRights continued to hold corporations accountable for undermining human rights and accelerating our climate crisis.
- We led public education efforts to expose how fossil fuel revenues fuel genocide in Myanmar and lobbied world leaders to impose sanctions.
- We sparked Congressional efforts to secure justice for victims of corporate human rights abuses.
- We exposed the International Finance Corporation’s harmful legacy in India.
PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: FENEMAD
In the Peruvian Amazon, Indigenous peoples are the last stronghold of resistance against the destructive advancement of extractive industries. In 1982, seven Indigenous groups came together to form FENAMAD, an organization that represents their rights and protects their respective territories. Today, it includes 37 native communities.
EarthRights is proud to partner with FENAMAD for our Frontlines of Climate Justice campaign, representing them in court, advocating for government protections, and amplifying their voices on the international stage. Thanks to our work together, FENAMAD has been better able to exercise its rights to defend itself from abuse at the hands of the company and the court. Moving ahead, EarthRights will continue to provide legal support to FENAMAD and work with it to ensure that the needs of those who live in voluntary isolation are considered in the framework of decisions made by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Julio Cusurichi, FENEMAD’s president. Photo courtesy FENEMAD.
BOARD PROFILE: SOLINN LIN
“If you must pick a fight, pick one with those who are powerful even though you know you only have a slim chance of winning, but you must take it on to protect those that are vulnerable.”
Solinn Lim recently joined the EarthRights Board of Directors, bringing with her over 20 years of experience in international conservation, development, and human rights advocacy.
Solinn was born in Cambodia and raised mostly by women, some of whom had been detained at labor concentration camps run by the Khmer Rouge, an authoritarian regime that unleashed unthinkable atrocities on the people. Solinn counts these women among her role models, particularly her mother, who taught her the importance of hard work and standing up for her convictions.
As an economically disadvantaged girl in Cambodia, Solinn experienced discrimination and abuse at school at the hands of her teachers, who themselves were victims of the country’s socio-economic inequities. Her early exposure to inequality taught her to believe in universal and equal rights for all and is part of what inspired her career as a human rights advocate.
When Solinn was only 18, she joined forces with her mentor, Kit Whitney, to found a non-profit dedicated to preserving Cambodia’s wildlife. For eight years, she traveled across Cambodia’s provinces and overseas, working with community leaders, law enforcement, scientists, investors, diplomats, and ministers to seek sustainable solutions to complex political and economic challenges. Her work there also took her abroad; one particular visit–to Redwood National Park in California–proved particularly inspiring.
Speaking of her experience, she said: “This was where I learned a Cree prophecy which goes along this line: Only when the last tree has been cut, the last river poisoned, the last fish caught, only then people will know that we cannot eat money.”
This wisdom also reflected that of the Indigenous leaders she has met in Southeast Asia and Latin America who spoke of the need to preserve our shared ecosystem for future generations and seek what she describes as “a more planetary-centric economic model that also offers every being a fair share of prosperity.”
From there, she went on to earn a degree in Environmental Policy from Oxford University to supplement the BA in Sociology she already held from the Royal University of Phnom Penh. In 2004, she launched the first-ever environmental and common property rights project in Cambodia and later worked for Oxfam in multiple capacities, including as their country director in Cambodia.
Earlier this year, she founded Saddhā, which means trust, faith, or belief in the (now extinct) Pali language. Saddhā is a mission-oriented business that brokers public- private partnerships intended to transform Cambodian society and show that politics can be used for positive purposes. Limm hopes that with Saddhā, “we [will] help transform Cambodia into a proud human economy and just society for all, especially the most vulnerable groups.”
Solin is a long-time supporter of EarthRights. On joining the board, she notes, “It is a real privilege, and it allows me to reconnect to a part of me as an environmentalist and humbly contribute to the defense of our planet with our friends and networks around the world.”
Limm’s experiences have taught her that ”if you must pick a fight, pick one with those who are powerful even though you know you only have a slim chance of winning, but you must take it on to protect those that are vulnerable.” This conviction is one of many reasons EarthRights is proud to welcome Solinn to our Board of Directors.