Every year, dozens of people are persecuted or killed defending their environment from extractive industries like mining and logging. In many countries around the world, Columbans see how extractive industries can forcibly displace communities, pollute the surrounding ecosystems, and endanger local cultures.
The 2019 meeting of Amazon bishops (or synod) said that “defending and promoting human rights is demanded by our Faith. … [We] denounce the violation of human rights, as well as extractive destruction.”
One way we can stand in solidarity with those who risk their lives to defend the earth and vulnerable communities is to bring their stories to Congress. Ensuring that Members of Congress hear from the first-hand experiences of environmental human rights defenders will help them understand the impacts of the policies they create.
Contact your Senators today and urge them to support Senate Resolution 80 (S.Res. 80), which would establish a human rights commission in the U.S. Senate.
This commission would:
- Serve as a forum for bipartisan discussion of international human rights issues and promotion of internationally recognized human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- Raise awareness of international rights violations through regular briefings and hearings;
- Collaborate with the executive branch, human rights entities, and nongovernmental organizations to promote human rights initiatives within the Senate.
As human rights are under assault around the world, such a commission is urgently needed. A commission like the one S.Res. 80 proposes would help shape U.S. policy to protect human rights and the communities that courageously defend them.