‘West Africa Grassroots Frontline Human Rights Defenders End Regional Conference: Call for Protection’


A three-day Conference on the situation of Grassroots Frontline Environmental, Land and Human Right Defenders in West Africa opened on Monday, 29 March 2021 by way of the zoom technology. It was by all means a meeting of multidimensional profiles – with the high and the lowly in society interfacing. Credit to the Mano River Union Civil Society Natural Resource Rights and Governance Platform and its affiliate organization, Green Advocates International-Liberia, the progenitor of the initiative. 

The organizers succeeded in attracting four UN Special Rapporteurs to the conference including, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders, Prof. Mary Lawlor; the UN Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples, Prof. Francisco Cali Tzay; Dr. Anne Chabord, Legal Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on Countering Terrorism, and the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights & the Environment, Prof. David Boyd.

Essentially, all the ‘UN Specials’ could not just resist attending the three-day deliberations because the ‘overlooked and unprotected’ community and indigenous defenders were also in front of the cameras, not behind this time. If this is not sufficiently a point of departure from the old order, what is it?’ (…)

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