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Conservation’s engagement with human rights: “traction”, “slippage”, or avoidance?
Janis Bristol Alcorn, Antoinette G. Royo
Human rights (HR) have become a smoking-gun issue threatening conservation’s public legitimacy and long-term funding. Globally there are rising frustrations that large conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs) do not seem to be collaborating with civil society movements promoting democratization. They rather appear to associate closely with governments and other actors with poor HR records. HR abuses or allegations of abuse that arise in conservation contexts include violation of due process, massive forcible resettlements, destruction of property and farms, torture, and extrajudicial killings. In addition, conservation agents are increasingly perceived as HR ‘duty bearers’ that do not fulfil their responsibilities. Many biodiversity hotspots overlap with poverty hotspots where HR abuses occur, and in such areas conservation organizations have an excellent opportunity to act towards addressing such abuses. Their responsibilities are guided by international and domestic law, yet their record of action is uneven. In some local cases, conservation agencies have demonstrated ‘traction’ in supporting HR. Evidence of ‘slippage’ and avoidance in assuming HR responsibilities, however, suggest that the biodiversity conservation community has yet to mature towards a commitment to HR, which would require systematic changes at multiple levels. This paper places unspoken issues on the table and encourages their open discussion, hoping to promote the positive changes essential for sustainable conservation.
About this Document :
|Release Date:||July 2007|
|File Size:||436 KB|
|Journal:||IUCN Policy Matters 15|