World Day for Human Rights: the land, our towns and cities for those who defend them


Our human rights defenders are under persecution. States and big business try to stop people who, despite being under threat, speak out in defense of habitat, city and housing rights.

Image © Enel Perú

Today, 10th of December, marks the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, despite this commitment of States for more than half a century, we are still witnessing the violation of these rights and the growing persecution of human rights defenders around the world.

We remember that land, housing and the city continue to be a source of profit and speculation for a few who end up speculating with the rights of many. Thousands of defenders raise their voices to prevent this situation, suffering threats, coercion and murder. According to Global Witness, more than three people were killed each week during 2018, and countless more were criminalized for defending their territory and our environment.

Human rights at the heart of climate talks

Today and every day we reaffirm our commitment and solidarity with human rights and environmental defenders, who are suffering increasing persecution around the world. On this day that we celebrate in parallel to COP25, we make a collective call for solidarity with environmental defenders. We re-launch our demands to the states reminding them of the importance of facing climate change through Human Rights related to Habitat and the Right to the City, placing the care of the planet and people at the centre.

Read our statement:

We, social movements, civil society and local governments organizations join forces to persuade COP25 delegates to finally reach and enforce their commitments to tackle the causes and consequences of climate change, by financing and implementing policies that put people at the centre and embrace Human Rights related to Habitat and the Right to the City, striving for a zero emission future and without any forced evictions from right now. We are committed to implement this alternative approach resisting the dominant neo-liberal model.”

Click here to learn more about our activities during COP25

Listening to the story of Luis d’Elia (Argentina), Cesare Ottolini (Italy), Moussa Ka (Senegal), Samir Flores (Mexico), Abdullah Abu Rahmah (Palestine), Khadim Hussain Dahot (Pakistan), the women who defend the ecosystem of Lomas de Amancaes in Peru, the indigenous peoples’ organizations and movements in Ecuador, Chile and many others, makes us stronger to continue to protect our human rights related to the environment, housing and the city, and to stand up for our human rights defenders.

Unfortunately, there are many stories of threatened defenders, and we want to give them visibility, will you help us?