Fracking causes harm and violates human rights – interim opinion of international tribunal


A panel of judges at an internationally-recognised tribunal has concluded that governments and industry have failed in their obligations to protect the public from the impacts of fracking.

A preliminary statement issued by the Permanent People’s Tribunal session on fracking said the process contributed to climate change and involved “massive violations” of human rights. Preliminary statement of Permanent People’s Tribunal on fracking

The interim opinion said the industry “has failed to fulfil its legal and moral obligations” and governments have, in general, “failed in their responsibility to regulate the industry” to protect people communities and nature.

The tribunal hearings, all held online last month, considered heard evidence from individuals, experts and non-governmental organisations about the impact of fracking on the environment, people’s lives and on communities.

The interim opinion is not the court’s final judgment but it may indicate how the judges are thinking. The final advisory opinion on is expected in the autumn.

The statement, issued earlier this week, included the conclusion:

“The evidence we have considered is consistent internally, almost without exception. It is also consistent with the external evidence to which the Tribunal was referred, i.e.
the results reached, discussed and analysed in hundreds of independent reports and refereed research publications.

“The evidence clearly demonstrates that the processes of fracking contribute substantially to anthropogenic harm, including climate change and global warming, and involve massive violations of a range of substantive and procedural human rights and the rights of nature. Thus the industry has failed to fulfil its legal and moral obligations.

“The evidence also shows that governments have, in general, failed in their responsibility to regulate the industry so as to protect people, communities and nature.
In addition, they have failed to act promptly and effectively to the dangers of climate change that fracking represents.”

Permanent People’s Tribunals have no power to compel people to attend hearings, give evidence or to enforce a judgement. But the Bhopal tribunal led to the adoption of the Charter on Industrial Hazards and Human Rights.

Wenona Hauter Preston New Road 170605 Food and Water Europe

Andy Gheorghiu and Wenona Hauter of Food and Water Europe. Photo: Food and Water Europe

Andy Gheorghiu, policy advisor for the campaign group, Food and Water Europe, which contributed to the hearings, said today:

“The interim opinion of the Permanent People’s Tribunal judges finally confirms within a court of international importance that fracking and the industry and governments behind this global frenzy is a threat for us all”, says Andy Gheorghiu, policy advisor for Food & Water Europe.

“States and non-state actors are fully responsible and should be held fully liable for the – in view of the existing knowledge and evidence deliberate – conducted violations of human rights and the rights of nature related to environmental and climate harm caused by the so-called unconventional oil and gas extraction techniques.”

38 replies »

    • Thank you Ruth, did anyone see or read of this tribunal on fracking and human rights announced on the media in UK?
      This is perhaps the most important tribunal publically available on YouTube I have seen anywhere for the lat 8 years?

      Here is the opening declaration speech and the links to the entire procedures online.

      Again, the entire tribunal is available online from links on the website Philip P posted here.

    • In 2008, the USGS sparked a fracking boom in Debra Marquart’s home state of North Dakota when they announced that an estimated 3 to 4.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil rested in the Bakken/Three Forks formation. Since then, millions of gallons of oil and chemicals have been spilled, leaked or misted into the air, soil, and waters of North Dakota. Since 2013, the ND Humanities Council has sent Marquart to the oil patch to teach writing workshops. She’s put on 20,000 miles and come away with two cracked windshields and an abundance of stories. In this lecture, Marquart reads from her long poem “Small Buried Things” and from her in-progress book, “Postcards from Boomtown.”

  1. Wow shock horror at this highly predictable biased opinion. It’s like ‘Netpol’ trying to sound like ‘Interpol’, need to try a lot harder to get anyone’s attention.

  2. A group who are variously Marxist, ex-Greenpeace, anti-mining, anti-oil exploration, key figures in “climate justice” conclude that “governments” have are not protecting the public from fracking and this is presented here without and critique or scrutiny?

    I used to find the description of this website as “independent” a bit of a stretch. As time goes on it now seems to be further departing from the principles of “journalism” too. Call a spade a spade. Drill or Drop is a campaign website.

    I mean, “governments”?! What a lark.

    • So ‘independent’ in relation to journalism:

      ‘not dependent; not depending or contingent upon something else for existence, operation, etc’
      not relying on another or others for aid or support
      ‘working for oneself’
      ‘not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction; autonomous; free’.

      ‘the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news or of conducting any news organization as a business.’

      So by definition Drill or Drop is independent journalism

      ‘I mean, “governments”?!’ – government – ‘physiological front of corporate non-democratic control systems which creates the illusion of freedom of choice and respectable managers of taxpayer’s money’

  3. Jeff, this website has never been independent, with its views on fracking.

    You will get the standard line or retort from the journalists here disputing your view, most of the anti’s will berate you for having the audacity to criticize their Ruth or Paul, and will even suggest you don’t read the articles on here, but there is no doubt it is a campaign website.

    Jeff, some things will never change, and that certainly applies to the majority of the anti posters on this site, even if it means progress for the future well being of most residents of the UK, not just the whining minority.

  4. Well, as no people are Permanent, will be like yesterday’s finger removed from the bucket of water. Tomorrow, no one will know it was there.

    philosopher-“a person who shows philosophic calmness in trying circumstances.”

    Just like someone filling up their motor at the pumps, amidst all the rhetoric around the “world being awash with cheap oil and gas.”

  5. Why dont these judge look at the human rights of coal miners in China? Child labour in Congo cobalt mine for renewables battery? Fuel poverty old people who can’t afford to pay for gas or people who can’t afford gas and have to burn coal? Hypocritical judges.

    • Well it seems my break from Drill Or Drop is delayed because of this interesting development, but that is OK, better to address some important issues than not.

      I​t is always interesting to watch the ​anti anti ​response to Fracking causes harm and violates human rights – interim opinion of international tribunal

      ThIS ​independent report on Drill Or Drop certainly challenges the corporate fracking imperatives?​

      What a sorry display of derog a tory name calling in response from the ant antis?

      Standard industry PR deviation and damage limitation procedure leads to a series of recognisable strategies​, and goes like this:

      1. ​A​tempt to denigrate the source​, on the premise that if the source is unreliable, then the information must be unreliable, not true of course but it is the standard first line of defence.

      2. Derogatory ​name calling and derogatory labelling, the more derogatory the better, this attempts to denigrate the source by attempting to associate it with terminology that is usually a series of stereotypical boogie man epithets, again not true, since the is no evidence provided, its just name calling. We see the frankly desperate attempt to call the judges red communists officials? Benefit frauds? Hypocritical judges? Marxist, ex-Greenpeace, anti-mining, anti-oil exploration? But you notice that there is no proof submitted to substantiate such frankly insanely desperate terms? Nor can there be, its more a measure of desperation than anything else.

      ​3. A​tempt to deviate from subject​ by introducing other non related issues and cry that those should be addressed, not the precious status issue which is threatened by the source information. This is irrelevant of course, since it is not the subject in hand and is as such a desperate avoidance and diversion from subject. That is the weakest of all the strategies.

      4. Attempt to denigrate the messenger​, in this case Ruth and Paul of Drill Or Drop.This is a desperate attempt since the messenger simply delivers the message, but the message must not stand so the messenger must be accused of delivering a message by deliberate action. This is also not true of course, since a glance at even recent subjects will show that Drill Or Drop is simply reporting events as they occur. This aspect is interesting in that if you look at previous posts, the same posters praise Drill Or Drop if it reports anti anti favoured subjects? That comes more under the label of Hypocrisy than the unfounded accusation of the judges doesn’t it?
      ​5. Use of multiple ids to attempt to indicate more than one or two original protagonists. That needs no explanation and is an all too common anti anti feature on Drill Or Drop.

      6. Cross pollinate comments from multiple PR operators to give the impression of agreement.​This is often from the same PR department office or desk and is apparent as in 5 above because the posters often forget who they are supposed to be and post answering under the wrong id.

      7. Make no attempt to actually challenge the findings, as the information is far too volatile for discussion, because discussion leads to questions and there are no answers that can maintain the illusion of corporate stability. Again that needs no explanation.

      ​8. Never actually look at the source information, since it must never be acknowledged that contrary information exists and the details of such are therefore forbidden which attempts to avoid any of the dangerous subjects being discussed.​

      What all this displays, is very similar to classic cognitive inertia pattern behaviour which produces the need for attempting to attack the messenger rather than address or challenge the message.

      The simple truth is that the fracking and fossil fuel industry has reached the point where it must decline and fade away, the evidential proof is that the process is seriously flawed, dangerous and grossly polluting to the environment and the planet as a living entity.

      We must develop a new closer reciprocal evolution with our precious planet that is so seriously under threat from the profit motive exploiters. We do not have much time left to reverse the trend, we either do so now, or our children, and their children and for generations to come, will have a seriously damaged and devastated planet to try and repair. We only have this planet, we poison our own nest at our own peril, there is no plan B planet for the corporate few to scoot off to in order to get away from their own filthy legacy.

      We must start reversing the greed money grabbing exploitative trend now, or our future generations of all living creatures will have a far far more difficult job of just surviving on this severely damaged planet,let alone start the long road to the repair and reinstatement of a working stable environment will take many centuries, not many years.

  6. These judges sound a bit like red communists officials. Get free benefits from the society and criticize those who produces those benefits as evil capitalist exploiting the poor people who produces the good for their privilege.

  7. In other news it was noted that approximately 7.5 billion people in the world would not survive were it not for fossil fuels, a large proportion of these fuels which are gathered using fracking technology. Thus it was determined that the existence of human rights for 7.5 billion people is largely possible due to the impact of fossil fuels, rendering the above “ruling” by the panel of “judges” completely without meaning.

  8. if the government were to Apply all the restrictions proposed then the country would grind to a halt there would be no transport as everything objected to on Fracking can equally be applied to vehicles.

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