We will not be intimidated or silenced! – a declaration of solidarity

JATAM solidarity banner Solidarity banner: "Environmental and human rights activists are NOT CRIMINALS" (© Jatam Sulteng)

Jan 22, 2021

Rettet den Regenwald e.V. (Rainforest Rescue) is currently being sued before the District Court of Hamburg, Germany. The lawsuit – which in our opinion is an effort to intimidate and silence us – is a textbook example of a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP).

Together with nine other NGOs, we had sent a letter to the companies Siemens and Nordex informing them that they have business relationships with a conglomerate in Indonesia that stands accused of clearing forest for oil palm plantations and threatening indigenous people.

In response to the lawsuit, more than 100 organizations from Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa signed the following declaration of solidarity:

"We will not be intimidated or silenced!

The destruction of the rainforests is one of the greatest environmental crimes of our time. But instead of prosecuting the perpetrators, courts are increasingly being used to harass environmentalists.

Rettet den Regenwald e.V. (Rainforest Rescue) is currently being sued before the District Court of Hamburg, Germany. 

In 2016, Rettet den Regenwald and nine other NGOs had sent a letter to the companies Siemens and Nordex informing them that they have business relationships with a conglomerate in Indonesia that stands accused of clearing forest for oil palm plantations and threatening indigenous people. It is with reference to this letter that Rettet den Regenwald is now being sued by a third party.

In our opinion, this lawsuit is an effort to intimidate and and silence environmentalists. 

We see this case as a textbook example of a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP), a move in which companies and powerful individuals use the courts to limit public participation and stifle criticism. SLAPP suits are a threat to organizations and activists that investigate issues in the service of the public good, name those responsible, and campaign for the environment and human rights. They are therefore an attack on democracy and an effort to hinder the work of civil society, because:

  • instead of working to protect rainforests against destruction by corporations, environmentalists must sacrifice valuable time to defend themselves
  • mounting a legal defense costs money that would be better spent on rainforest protection and partner projects in countries of the global South
  • the case could have a chilling effect and lead to self-censorship by environmentalists to avoid further lawsuits in other campaigns.

This lawsuit is therefore detrimental to the rainforests and the people who live there.

We, the undersigned organizations, declare our solidarity with Rettet den Regenwald e.V. 

Anyone who maliciously sues activists and organizations who are working for social progress and to protect nature is attacking us all."

SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS:

https://www.regenwald.org/files/de/rdr-solidarity-ngos-logos.jpg

  • Acción Ecológica, Ecuador
  • Africando, Spain
  • Ajele Sunday, Nigeria
  • Amazon Watch, USA
  • Les Amis de la Terre France, France
  • Amigos de la Tierra, Spain
  • Animals Are Sentient Beings, Inc., USA
  • ARA – Aktionsgemeinschaft Regenwald und Artenschutz, Germany
  • BankTrack, Netherlands
  • Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe e. V., Germany
  • Bergwaldprojekt e.V., Germany
  • Biakwan Light, Nigeria
  • biofuelwatch, UK/USA
  • Blue Dalian, China
  • Bomenstichting Achterhoek (regional Dutch Tree Foundation), Netherlands
  • Borneo Institute, Indonesia
  • BOS Deutschland, Germany
  • Bread for all, Switzerland
  • Bruno-Manser-Fond, Switzerland
  • CALG, Philippines
  • Cambodia Human Rights Task Force (CHRTF), Cambodia
  • Centre for Man and Land Resources Development (CEMLARD), Nigeria
  • Colectivo VientoSur, Chile
  • Colectivo Voces Ecológicas (COVEC), Panama
  • Collectif Or de question, France
  • Conservation Congress, USA
  • Conservation North, Canada
  • Defensa y Conservación Ecológica de Intag (DECOIN), Ecuador
  • denkhausbremen e.V., Germany
  • Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V., Germany
  • Devcon, Nigeria
  • Earth Action, USA
  • Ecodevelop, Germany
  • Eco-Guards, Nigeria
  • Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
  • Environmental Paper Network, international
  • Family Farm Defenders, USA
  • FIAN Deutschland, Germany
  • Flight – Protecting Indonesia’s Birds, Indonesia
  • Forum Ökologie und Papier, Germany
  • Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung, Germany
  • Friends of the Siberian Forests, Russia
  • Fundación Tantí, Chile
  • The Gaia Foundation, UK
  • Global Forest Coalition, international
  • Global Justice Ecology Project, USA
  • GMO Science, USA
  • GMO/Toxin Free , USA
  • GMWatch, USA
  • GRAIN, international
  • Green Advocates, Alfred Brownell, Goldman Environmental Prize Winner 2019, Liberia
  • Green Longjiang, China
  • Greenpeace Africa, international
  • Greenpeace European unit, EU
  • Greenpeace Indonesia, Indonesia
  • ICRA International, France
  • Inspirit, international
  • JATAM Sulawesi Tengah, Indonesia
  • JPIC Kalimantan (Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation), Indonesia
  • Kene, Peru
  • Last Tree Laws, USA
  • Link AR Borneo, Indonesia
  • Maïouri Nature Guyane (MNG), France
  • Mfaminyen Conservation Society, Nigeria
  • Milieudefensie / FoE Netherlands, Netherlands
  • Mother Nature, Cambodia
  • Movimiento por el Agua y los Territorios MAT, Chile
  • NAPE, Uganda
  • NGOCE, Nigeria
  • Not1More, UK
  • The Oakland Institute, USA
  • Observatorio Minero Ambiental y Social del Norte del Ecuador OMASNE, Ecuador
  • Orang Utan in Not e.V., Germany
  • Otros Mundos Chiapas, Mexico
  • Ouch Leng, Goldman Environmental Prize Winner 2016, Cambodia
  • Pageos.net, Indonesia
  • Profundo, Netherlands
  • Protect the Forest, Sweden
  • Rainforest Action Network (RAN), international
  • Rainforest Rescue, Australia
  • React, France
  • Rivers Without Boundaries Coalition, international
  • Robin Wood, Germany
  • SADIA, Malaysia
  • Save Our Borneo, Indonesia
  • Scholar Tree Alliance, China
  • Sierra Club BC, Canada
  • Snow Alliance, China
  • SystExt, France
  • Tabio (Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity), Tanzania
  • Tapol, UK
  • Teraju Indonesia Foundation, Indonesia
  • Umweltinstitut München e.V., Germany
  • Verdegaia, Spain
  • WatchDoc, Indonesia
  • WALHI North Sumatra (FoE), Indonesia
  • WALHI NTT (FoE Eastern  Sunda Islands), Indonesia
  • WALHI Papua (FoE Papua Province), Indonesia
  • WALHI South Sulawesi (FoE), Indonesia
  • Weltfriedensdienst, Germany
  • World Rainforest Movement, international
  • Yayasan Orangutan Sumatera Lestari (Orangutan Information Centre YOSL-OIC), Indonesia
  • Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat, Indonesia
  • Zukunftsstiftung Entwicklung in der GLS Treuhand e.V., Germany
  • Individuals:

  • Cadman, Tim BA, Earth Systems Governance Project, Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law, Griffith University

  • Hackfort Dr., Sarah; Thaer-Institute, Humboldt Universität Berlin

  • Newman, Stuart A. Ph.D. Prof. Cell Biology & Anatomy

  • Paul, Helena; Environmental Defender