Forging New Links: Promoting and Protecting
Human Rights and the Environment
January 14, 1999 Roundtable
San Francisco, CAAbout the Hosting Organizations
Amnesty International USA is a worldwide voluntary movement that works to prevent some of the gravest violations by governments of people’s fundamental human rights. The main focus of its campaigning is to free all prisoners of conscience, ensure fair and prompt trials for political prisoners, abolish the death penalty, torture and other cruel treatment of prisoners, and extrajudicial executions and “disappearances”. Amnesty International USA recognizes that human rights are indivisible and interdependent, and works to promote all the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards. Amnesty International USA comprises over 1,100,000 members, subscribers and regular donors, with over 6.000 local groups worldwide.
The Center for International Environment Law (CIEL) is a public interest, non-profit law firm that promotes environmentally and socially sustainable societies. CIEL believes that the processes shaping economic globalization should and can be broadened and enriched by the democratization of international and national laws, especially by connecting legal processes to grass-roots human rights and environmental concerns. Since its founding in 1989, CIEL has promoted this belief by supporting public interest movements around the world, educating and training public-interest lawyers, and striving to develop and implement strategies for incorporating fundamental principles of ecology and democracy into international and national laws and law-making processes.
EarthRights International (ERI) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization which combines the power of law and the power of the people in defense of human rights and the environment. With offices in Bangkok, Washington, DC, and Seattle, ERI works at the forefront of efforts to link human rights and environmental movements and has formulated a coherent action agenda for the advancement of their mutual concerns. ERI’s signature campaigns focus on Southeast Asia, where exploitation of natural resources threatens indigenous cultures and crucial information about environmental degradation is withheld from affected communities. In particular, ERI works to investigate, monitor, and expose human rights abuses and environmental problems occurring in the name of development; increase transparency and accountability of governments, transnational corporations, and International Financial Institutions (IFI); and ensure biodiversity, conservation, and ecological integrity.
Human Rights Advocates (HRA) has for over twenty years served as a platform for human rights advocacy within the United Nations system, through fact-finding missions, litigation in U.S. courts, and human rights education. HRA has been involved in a wide range of issues involving the intersection of human rights, environment and development, including work on the United Nations Sub-Commission’s report on human rights and environment, on social and economic rights, and on the human rights implications of toxic wastes. HRA has sponsored fact-finding missions to areas ranging from the U.S. (Navajo lands) to the territories of the former USSR and has provided amicus briefs to state and federal courts on issues involving international human rights. HRA members are active in coalitions on women’s rights, children’s rights, international criminal law, migrant workers’ rights, and others. HRA operates on these issues in collaboration with a wide network of contacts in the U.S. and international communities.
The Natural Heritage Institute is a non-profit natural resources law and technical consulting firm committed to improving the management and conservation of natural resources around the world. To this end, NHI focuses on capacity building, economic analysis, scientific investigation and public policy development. NHI areas of expertise include human rights, natural resource management, international development, land use planning, institution-building and sustainable growth. In most of its projects NHI has used collaborative and consensus-building processes to resolve conflicts that have arisen in the context of natural resources management. NHI works with a wide array of partners including conservation organizations, NGOs, community groups, government officials, and international agencies, and currently advise over twenty resource management and regulatory agencies at the local, state, national and international levels.
The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development is a non-profit research organization whose main Program areas are Northeast Asia Peace and Security which focuses on nuclear weapons abolition and on nuclear non-proliferation on the Korean peninsula; Energy, Security and Environment, which focuses on promoting regional cooperation for ecologically sustainable energy management and investment in Asia, especially Northeast Asia; and Globalization and Governance, which focuses on promoting environmental and human rights norms in international trade and investment. The Institute provides high-quality intellectual and informational resources to forward-looking people in a variety of sectors who influence opinion and policymaking, including researchers, NGOS, media, and government. Nautilus utilizes the Internet intensively as a method of enhancing policy discussion and of building a community of influence and has developed significant human and technological capacities to provide information on the Internet.
The Sierra Club has been the world’s premier citizens’ organization for more than 100 years, working for the protection of wilderness and the natural environment. The Club is composed of 550,000 members in 65 chapters, and some 400 local groups nationwide. Lobbying at the federal legislative and administrative level is coordinated by our Washington, DC staff. Sierra magazine is published six times a year and enjoys a readership of over one million people. The Club’s Books program is the largest such nature publishing program in the world. Appreciation and enjoyment of the out-of-doors were offered to members through our extensive domestic and international Outings program, which was established in 1902.