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Statements and speeches Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

“We need your voices more than ever,” High Commissioner tells Global Citizen Now

02 May 2024

Delivered by

Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Greetings from Geneva. I’m Volker Türk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

I regret that I can’t be with you in person, but I want to take this opportunity to call on all of you to join my Office, the United Nations Human Rights Office, in supporting human rights defenders all over the world.

Including those who stand up for our land and environment rights.

The climate crisis is the defining and most urgent human rights threat of this generation. Yet, those who speak up and speak out are often subject to threats and intimidation, or even worse.

In the last eight years, 2,691 human rights defenders have been killed. Over half of them were land and environment rights defenders.   

This is unacceptable.

Throughout history, progress, positive social change, and freedoms have been achieved largely because of people mobilizing and having their voices heard. We need your voices more than ever. 

To urge governments and companies to stop repression and intimidation of human rights defenders.

To ensure that defenders have access to justice.

To guarantee that they can carry out their essential work safely.

And that they have a seat at the table when it comes to the decisions that affect them.

Limiting the catastrophic damage of the climate crisis depends on the steps we take today.

My Office is here to partner with you to turn words into tangible action.