Latin American environmental rights treaty enters into force

Santiago (AFP) –

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As the world marked Earth Day, the first-ever treaty to protect the rights of environmental defenders was ratified by the Latin American region.

With the final 12 ratifications required, the Escazu Agreement adopted by countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in Costa Rica in 2018, entered into force.

The region has a poor track record in this area, with about 60 percent of the world's murdered environmentalists.

"In 2019, 201 environmental defenders were killed worldwide, two thirds of them in our region, and in 2020 it was worse," said Alicia Barcena, secretary general of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

According to the commission, the agreement is the "the first environmental treaty in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the only one of its kind worldwide that enshrines the protection of human rights defenders in environmental matters."