A panel of judges at an internationally-recognised tribunal has urged the United Nations to ban fracking.
The Permanent People’s Tribunal session on fracking and climate change has concluded that materials and infrastructure used in unconventional oil and gas extraction violate human rights.
In an advisory opinion, the judges said the violations were against rights to life, water, full information and participation and the rights of indigenous people, women and children.
The judges concluded there was “an axis of betrayal between corporations and governments” that allowed the industry to violate human rights.
The industry was also a major contributor to climate change and a threat to local ecosystems, they said.
They called for a UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment to investigate violations of rights by the industry. They also said the activities of transnational companies should be regulated by law.
The judges recommended that individual states should:
- Recognise in their constitutions the right of citizens to a healthy environment
- Recognise in law processes such as people’s tribunals and citizens inquiries
- Consider adopting the Declaration on Human Rights and Climate Change
- Include punitive damages in legal judgements for violations by unconventional oil and gas operators
- Cease persecution of climate activists and defenders of human rights
- Decriminalise protests against the unconventional oil and gas industry
The tribunal hearings on fracking and climate change were held in May 2018 and received testimony from across the world.
DrillOrDrop reported last year on the preliminary findings. These concluded that the industry had failed to fulfil its “legal and moral obligations” and governments had failed in their responsibility to regulate the industry.
Permanent People’s Tribunals have no power to compel people to attend hearings, give evidence or to enforce a judgement. But they can be influential. The tribunal on the gas leak at Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, led to the adoption of the Charter on Industrial Hazards and Human Rights.
This is the second international organisation in the past month to recommend a fracking ban. Last month, a committee of the United Nations recommended that the UK government halt the process of hydraulic fracturing.