Governing Mayor of Oslo Raymond Johansen and Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen will share opening remarks and welcome global activists like Gabonese environmentalist Marc Ona Essangui, Venezuelan journalist Lisseth Boon, Ugandian environmental activist William Amanzuru, and Russian advocate Yevgeniya Chirikova for a session of talks, performances, and an open panel discussion with participants.
This final session of the Oslo Freedom Forum promises to unite our global community of activists and the Norwegian public in a celebration of bravery and a commitment to protecting environmental defenders everywhere.
The persecution of, and attacks against, environmental activists are serious human rights violations on their own, but they are also done to cover up crimes related to the environment and silence whistleblowers.
Defending the defenders is a new platform for environmentalists at the Oslo Freedom Forum in 2019. Indigenous communities, environmentalists, investigative journalists, and human rights activists are often subjected to violence, threats, and murder when they try to protect natural resources and the livelihoods of vulnerable communities.
Over the past few years, human rights and environmental protections have been under assault around the world. The killing and persecution of environmentalists to cover up environmental crimes and silence whistleblowers represent serious human rights violations. In a report published by the international environmental organization Global Witness in 2018, 2017 saw a total of 207 killings of environmental activists and defenders. Making it the deadliest year on record so far.
Four indigenous leaders, community activists, and environmentalists are murdered every week in trying to protect their homes and communities from mining, agribusiness and other destructive industries encroaching on their areas or livelihoods.