Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal – Nature’s Rights Highlighted

Nature’s Rights hearings took place at the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change from 14-18 May 2018.

On 12th April 2019, 10 Judges of the Peoples’ Permanent Tribunal (PPT) delivered their final Advisory Opinion on the impacts of fracking on climate change, human rights and nature’s rights. This judgement found significant ongoing violations of both human rights under existing law, and also nature’s rights, the latter being presented to the Tribunal with reference to the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.

The judges recommended, among many other things, that:

  1. The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth (UDRME) be adopted as soon as possible by the United Nations.
  2. The methods, present and envisioned for the future, of extracting oil and gas from underground, referred to in general as “fracking”, be banned.
  3. An International Working Group (IWG) be established to develop People’s Earth Jurisprudence and publish reports which can be used by legislatures and courts around the world. The IWG should include in its work an analysis and justification of the right to use civil disobedience including forcible action where necessary and morally justified to defend Mother Earth.
  4. Ecocide be given similar recognition as genocide in international law through a Universal Declaration from the United Nations.

Prior to the oral hearings, on 31st March 2018, the petitioners on behalf of Nature’s Rights submitted written submissions, as follows:

“What is the extent of responsibility and liability of States and non-state actors, both legal and moral, for violations of the rights of nature related to environmental and climate harm caused by these unconventional oil and gas extraction techniques?”

The Submission argued that unconventional oil and gas extraction (“UOGE”) violates the rights of nature to exist, thrive, regenerate and evolve and that both state and non-state actors are responsible, accountable and liable for these violations.

The petitioners’ Submission drew on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. It articulated that the rights of nature must be recognised, in order for humans to heal their relationship with Earth, and for all of nature to survive and thrive.

On 15 & 16 May 2018, the petitioners on behalf of Nature’s Rights presented oral evidence, including various live and recorded witness statements to support their case.

The complete Schedule for the oral sessions relating to Nature’s Rights gives an overview of the witnesses who were called to testify as to various violations of nature’s rights and those who presented information on Earth Jurisprudence, which underpins the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.

The full 110 min recording of Nature’s Rights Session 1, led by Lisa Mead of the Earth Law Alliance, is available to view below:

Session 1 Content: Petitioners on behalf of Nature, Lisa Mead of the Earth Law Alliance and Michelle Maloney of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance, made the case for Nature’s Rights at the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change. They introduced Cormac Cullinan, author of Wild Law and Linda Sheehan of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, plus various witnesses who provided expert testimony relating to violations of nature’s rights caused by unconventional oil and gas extraction, specifically in relation to:-

  • the rights of animals and plants
  • the rights of rivers, waterways and aquifers

In making their case to the Tribunal, the petitioners are relying on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. They also reference the growing body of Rights of Nature and legal personhood laws around the world.

Nature’s Rights Hearing at Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change – Session 2

The full 105 min recording of Nature’s Rights Session 2, led by Dr. Michelle Maloney of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance, is available to view below:

Session 2 Content: Petitioners on behalf of Nature, Michelle Maloney of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance and Lisa Mead of the Earth Law Alliance, made the case for Nature’s Rights at the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change. They introduced Mari Margil of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, plus various witnesses who provided expert testimony relating to violations of Nature’s Rights caused by unconventional oil and gas extraction, in relation to:-

  • the land and its sub-surface – seismic impacts and pollution,
  • the rights of the climate system as a whole.

Click here for all the recordings of the PPT live hearings, including the Human Rights hearings.

More information about the full PPT hearing and the questions being addressed can be found here: https://www.tribunalonfracking.org/what-is-this-session-about/

Articles about the PPT on Fracking & Climate Change in the national news in Scotland:

The National, 9 June 2018

The Sunday Herald, 10 June 2018

The Ferret, 11 June 2018


Receive Earth Law Updates



Skip to toolbar