River communities’ rights are deeply entwined with the environment. The fragmentation, over-extraction and pollution of river systems threatens fundamental rights to water, food, housing, health, livelihoods and culture.
Large dams have a particularly troubled human rights record: According to the World Commission on Dams report, they:
…forced some 40-80 million people from their lands in the 20th century. Legions of dam refugees – largely indigenous, tribal and peasant communities – have been economically, culturally and psychologically devastated. Millions have suffered from the diseases dams bring, and an estimated 400-800 million people have faced downstream changes.
Our Work to Protect Human Rights
Around the world, environmental defenders face growing threats to their lives and safety. We work with community leaders, women, indigenous peoples and civil society activists to draw attention to these threats, support their efforts to protect their lands and waters, and plan for a just energy transition.
Take Action for dam collapse victims
Thousands of people lost their homes when faulty construction led to a devastating dam collapse in southern Laos. Those responsible for the construction of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower project must be held accountable.
- PRESS RELEASE| Two Years After Lao Dam Collapse, Call for Justice PersistsFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Bangkok, July 23, 2020 – Two years ago today, at least 70 people died or disappeared and over 7000 were displaced when a dam collapsed in Laos, submerging…
- Solidarity and call to action on racial justice in the United States of AmericaBy: Darryl Knudsen, Executive Director THEY WERE BRUTALLY MURDERED BY WHITE POLICE OFFICERS. LET US SAY THEIR NAMES: George Floyd, 46-year old Black man, father to five, who excelled at football…
- Staying safe, informed and active: Setting a new future for freshwater and riversFor our environment, and the peoples that rely on our rivers and natural systems for their food and economic security, the time is now. International Rivers and our partners are perfectly placed to map out this new future. But we need your help.
- Goal 4 – Secure Human Rights for River Communities and Water ProtectorsBy: Sarah Bardeen, Former Communications Director In recent years, the silencing, disappearance and assassination of environmental and indigenous defenders has become tragically common. Perhaps the most high-profile case involves Berta…
- Human Rights and Kyoto’s Carbon Offsetting SchemeBy: Katy Yan Update: Twelve civil society organizations, including International Rivers, have sent letters to the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and…