The situation for Indigenous, Land and Environmental Defenders (ILEDs) globally is nothing short of dire. Multiple reports show that more countries are gradually becoming dangerous places for ILEDs; a range of their human rights including their rights to life, physical integrity, safety, political participation, and freedom of expression and association – among others basic civil liberties – are continually and increasingly violated.

Between 2014 and 2015, the Universal Rights Group (URG), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, Prof. John Knox, organised two regional consultations – in Geneva and Bangkok – during which environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) from the African, Asian and European regions came together to provide testimonies and to explain the nature of EHRDs’ work and the challenges they face.

Later, in 2018 the URG and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) convened and participated in a series of regional meetings in Latin America. During these consultations, EHRDs shared their protection and prevention needs and offered a number of ideas on how the UN and the international community could support their work in protecting the natural world.

To capture all of these ideas, it was suggested that international civil society, together with relevant parts of the UN, including the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, and the UNEP, should come together to develop a single one-stop-shop web portal that would provide relevant information, resources, contacts and advice to ILEDs.

Pursuant to that suggestion, URG, EIA, Global Witness, N1M and other NGOs, in collaboration with former UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights and environment (John H Knox and David R. Boyd), the UNEP and Wake Forest University Law School, came together to design, build and launch such a portal:

The URG and the Alliance for Land, Indigenous and Environmental Defenders (ALLIED) which is a global network of civil society actors that drives multi-stakeholder action and systemic change in the recognition, support, and protection of Indigenous, Land, and Environmental Defenders (ILEDs) manage and regularly update this portal as per evolving situations and needs.