Forest Defenders Conference

The meeting will feature presentations from front line environmental defenders, sharing their experiences of threats, violence or criminalisation, and we aim to bring together a wide range of expertise – including security specialists, environmental and human rights groups, researchers, funders, media representatives and lawyers to share their work, and develop strategies to address the increasing levels of violence against environmental and land defenders.

The main meeting will be on 21st June, at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. On 22nd June, Tactical Technology Collective will run a digital security workshop for defenders and supporters / interested attendees.

On 21st there will be presentations from front line forest defenders and international analysts including: – John Knox, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights and the Environment – an overview of the current crisis in violence against environmental defenders; – Ouch Leng, Goldman Prize Winner for Asia 2016 – working as an undercover investigator to fight the plunder of Cambodia’s forests; – Justino Sá, forest activist and Principal Legal Advisor to the National Assembly of Guinea-Bissau – facing death threats to address the West African rosewood logging crisis; – Richard Rogers, Global Diligence – Creative cases at the International Criminal Court, using the law to fight impunity.

In the afternoon, we will split into working groups based on topics of particular interest/expertise, to share experiences and to identify and rank:

– barriers to accessing support for front line defenders / barriers to effectively providing support
– ideas and solutions to overcome those barriers and strategies to address security needs.

In the evening on 21st we will be showing a selection of short films featuring environmental activists, which we aim to be inspiring and hopeful, with drinks and pizza!