Questionnaire on the Human Rights of Environmental Defenders in Countries in Northern Central America

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is working on a report on the human rights of environmental defenders in countries in northern Central America.

The aim of this report is to gather information concerning the situation of defenders of the environment, land, and natural resources in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

The document seeks to describe the main risks these individuals face, as well as the reasons and sources of any such risks. The report further intends to assess major progress and pending challenges in efforts to protect these environmental defenders and ensure that conditions are right for the defense of the environment. The report is also set to issue recommendations for States.

The IACHR invites States, civil society organizations, human rights defenders, academic institutions, and other stakeholders to make their contributions on the following topics:

  1. Causes and ways in which defenders stand up for the environment in northern Central American countries
  2. Main groups who are at risk due to their work in defense of environmental rights, and main risks individual environmental rights defenders face
  3. Types of attacks that have been seen against environmental rights defenders (threats, murders, criminalization, slander, etc.)—Disaggregate figures based on the type of aggression, the activity of the defender who was attacked, their gender, the geographical area, and the likely perpetrators
  4. Sources and origin of these risks, ties to development or extractive projects, and factors that affect risk persistence; existing context or structural conditions that affect the persistence of these risks in any given country
  5. Progress and challenges in efforts to mitigate and/or eradicate risks for environmental defenders—Highlight the main protection and prevention measures adopted by States in northern Central America
  6. Main factors that have led to the criminalization of environmental defenders in countries in northern Central America, and main crime or misdemeanor categories used to that effect—Mention specific cases, if known
  7. Obstacles that have been identified for the defense of the environment through judicial proceedings
  8. Progress made and pending challenges in efforts to fight impunity in cases involving environmental defenders in northern Central American countries—Include detailed information concerning the state of specific investigations, and any particular challenges that have been identified
  9. Suggestions and recommendations to achieve effective protection of environmental defenders in countries in northern Central America

This questionnaire can be partially or fully completed, depending on the available information. Research, reports, and other relevant pre-existing and/or published documents may also be submitted. The IACHR appreciates all contributions submitted as input for this report.

Questionnaire answers must be emailed to cidhdefensores@oas.org . The email subject should say: “Environmental defenders in northern Central America”.

Information may be submitted in English, French, Portuguese, and/or Spanish. Please keep contributions concise and objective, and make sure they are based on verifiable sources and address events that have happened in the past 5 years.

Submission deadline : Midnight of February 12, 2022 (time in Washington, D.C.)