There have been several undocumented and unresolved reports of threats, harassment and attacks on land and environmental defenders. DPI has received some of these issues through our “Seek Support Portal”, verified and issued support to some of these cases, but overarching trends have emerged: threats against land and environmental defenders were at the climax during the pandemic; and since then new types of risks have emerged; in the current context, indigenous defenders are particularly exposed to threats and attacks by private investors, politicians and local authorities in their areas.
During the Covid pandemic lockdown with restrictions to movements, the impunity levels were unmatched since civil society and LEDs could not play the watchdog role. Since then, the perpetrators have since developed new tactics to counter these defenders and inflict threats to the LEDs.
Hence DPI is seeking to form a coordinated response mechanism that can be in place to support the LEDs in their hard times to offer support to them in form of rapid response in relation to security, psychosocial, short-term relocations, basic medical and legal assistance to encourage them to continue working to support their communities.
The Convention brought together participants including but not limited to: CEOs of organizations working on land rights, LE-friendly media, LE officers in the two regions of West Nile and Albertine, key government agencies, the donor community, and LEDs experts to discuss various issues regarding LEDs work, rights and protection.
The Convention targeted top organization management (Chief Executive Directors/Officers) and seek to draw their support and commitment to driving the organization’s shift to better security practices for LEDs. This is because some of the issues require management decisions.
We also offered an avenue for LEDs to share challenges, needs, and brainstorm practical protection solutions for LEDs in relation to security, psychosocial, and legal assistance.