Contact: Lois Marie Gibbs (CHEJ/PAI) 703-237-2249
Teresa Mills (CHEJ) 614-539-1471
United Nation’s Tribunal Recommends Worldwide Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing.
The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal is recommending a worldwide ban on hydraulic fracturing, the extreme oil and gas extraction technique known as ‘fracking.’ The Tribunal found that the materials, and infrastructure of fracking inherently and necessarily violate human rights. The specific rights violated include the rights to life, to water, to full information and participation, and especially the rights of indigenous people, women and children.
“I hope the United States heeds the warnings of the UN Tribunal and puts a stop to any and all fracking related activities immediately given these findings,” said Lois Gibbs founder of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice/ People’s Action Institute (CHEJ).
CHEJ was involved in three of the United States field Tribunals in Athens’s, Youngstown, Ohio and Charlottesville, VA. Lois Marie Gibbs served as a Juror in all three field Tribunals. Teresa Mills CHEJ’s Ohio organizer was both on the overall advisory panel and assisted community leaders to understand the rules and help with logistics in all three field hearing. The field hearings provided the basic information for the findings.
Gibbs recalled, “as a Juror I heard innocent people share their experiences living near fracking infrastructures. Children needing to dodge 100’s of trucks to get to school. Families who could light their faucets on fire due to the gas getting into their water supplies. Women, men and children made sick with asthma, cancers, skin disease and so much more who were not allowed to know what chemicals were being sent miles below their properties and evaporating into their air from fracking waste ponds.
This is an incredible victory for the people and provides clear impartial conclusion that communities can use to fight back against Fracking.
The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, based in Rome, is an internationally recognized Civil Society public opinion tribunal functioning independently of state authorities. It applies internationally recognized human rights law and policy to cases brought before it.
Governments have an affirmative obligation to protect the rights of their citizens, according to internationally recognized human-rights Covenants and Declarations. When governments fail to adequately regulate harmful oil and gas industry practices, they fail to meet their human rights obligations. And when governments fail to take measures to prevent the advance of climate change and its impacts on the rights to life, liberty, and security, they are failing to meet their internationally recognized human-rights obligations. Widespread government failures have created a global “axis of betrayal,” according to the international court, in which governments and fossil-fuel industries collude – at great cost to people and the planet – in human-rights violations to their mutual profit.
The Special Session was conducted for five days in May of 2018. Four Preliminary tribunals had been conducted in the months prior to the Plenary hearings. The Pre-tribunals included rich oral testimony from Australia, the US states of Ohio and Virginia, and other places, supporting documentation, and findings from those Pre-tribunal’s local judges. All materials and reports from those Pre-tribunal hearings, all the Plenary session’s oral testimony and arguments, all Plenary session reports, amicus curiae briefs and full documentation are available, in both video and text formats, on the website for the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Session on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change.
The full text of the Opinion is attached. It is also available on the website for the PPT Session on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change and on the Jurisprudence page of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal website at their headquarters in Rome.
By Gregory Kolen II. Environmental justice is an issue that affects everyone, but those who bear the brunt of it are often the most vulnerable