Human Rights and Transition: The Ombuds(wo)men and their contribution to the future

In early December, the Latin American Institute of Ombudsmen (ILO) held its 12th Annual Assembly and Seminar. ILO is a Latin American and Caribbean network that brings together Human Rights institutions and Human Rights defenders in the region, promoting the creation of these institutions, the strengthening of their role and institutionality, and the promotion and full exercise of Human Rights. 

Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the Assembly and Seminar in 2021 were held on line for the second year in a row. In this occasion, it was named ‘Berta Caceres’, a Lenca indigenous woman from Honduras, a human rights defender, murdered in March 2016 in her home for her permanent struggle for the rights of the Lenca people, the protection of the territory and the natural environment. ILO chose to come together remembering Berta Caceres in a historical moment where the defence of Human Rights necessarily implies a defence of Life in its diversity, and because the daily reality in Latin America and the Caribbean, where there is the highest number of murders of environmental defenders around the world – mostly women -, reminds us of the centrality of that struggle in order to imagine a truly just, equitable and sustainable future. In this sense, the focus of the meeting, based on the learnings of the responses to the pandemic, was to think collectively about the transition and to do it from a perspective of rights anchored in the protection of our natural environment.

It was also decided to dedicate some of the presentations to analyze women’s rights in the region, taking into account that the encounter took place within the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. Other groups specially considered during the seminar, also in coincidence with international days dedicated to highlight their rights, were the elderly, people with disabilities, as well as victims of various forms of slavery and human trafficking. Several women with roles in these institutions in charge of promoting and defending women’s rights and other collective rights, from several countries of the region, shared their experiences, views and proposals during the seminar. 

All sessions had an artistic expression representing some of the sub-regions. This was done recognizing the importance of culture and cultural expressions for the construction of just and democratic societies which value and respect diversity. 

As a result of the rich exchange throughout the three days of the seminar and assembly, a final declaration was issued where among others, the following topics were highlighted:

  • Concern about the worsening of the human rights situation in the region because of the pandemic and the inadequate and unequal policies implemented in response to it, including racist and discriminatory approaches.  
  • Concern about the impact that the pandemic has had on structural problems in the region, such as gender violence (including the growing number of feminicides), discrimination against women and the LGBTIQ + population, mistreatment of children and adolescents, limitation of rights to population groups such as people with disability, elderly, groups in a situation of human mobility, indigenous peoples, and lack of public policies in response to these situations.
  • Condemnation of the refusal by industrialized countries, based on economic interests, to take measures in order to reduce the effects of climate change; it also expressed its condemnation of the high number of human rights and environmental defenders, who have been pressured, threatened or assassinated, again, in order to defend economic interests associated with the extractivist model.
  • Concern about the impacts in people’s lives and intimacy resulting from surveillance capitalism; in line with this, it highlighted the current weakness of democratic institutions calling for broader and deeper participation of civil society in political life. 

The declaration provides a roadmap for ILO and its members for the work to be implemented in 2022, with the aim to contribute to strengthen the respect of human rights in the region. 


Ana Agostino
(First Vice-president of ILO and Ombudsperson of WEGO)


‘Despite Extractivism’ Exhibition – Open call for Contributors

Now in its third year, the team behind the ‘Extracting Us’ exhibitions are calling for works which bring attention to aspects of resistance to extractivism that sometimes slip from view. 

The ‘Despite Extractivism’ exhibition will continue the journey of activist/academic/artistic inquiry towards understanding the differentiated but connected ways extractivism impacts communities across multiple contexts. The project is also motivated by exploring how the exhibition format can be a way of fostering active solidarity.

Building on the connections between extractivism and care that emerged from bringing together the works of thirteen artists working in different extractive contexts, the new exhibition aims to further explore how everyday and creative ways of caring for each other and the environment can also be subversive acts of resistance which challenge the very logics underpinning extractivism. In these cracks in the concrete of extractivism, what kinds of fertile alternatives might be cultivated and enabled to flourish? How do acts of caring and resistance counter – and sometimes risk reproducing – extractivism? 

The exhibition and accompanying programme of events will be aligned with the  International Degrowth Conference in the Netherlands in August which will be exploring the theme of ‘Caring Communities for Radical Change’, and the COP26 Climate Change Conference in the UK in November in the run up to which we will amplify the connections between extractivism and the demands of environmental and climate justice. 

Contributions are invited from communities, creatives and campaigners working in places affected by the extractive industry anywhere in the world. With the ongoing pandemic context, all digital formats will be considered (visual, audio, text, video). 

Please see here for the full call including the exhibition themes and curatorial principles. We look forward to expressions of interest by 7th August. 

This exhibition is co-curated with the ONCA gallery in Brighton (UK) and researchers associated with the University of Brighton and the WEGO_ITN research network. 

A school for climate activists

Life Vs capital: Understanding the crisis, changing the world. 

Life vs Capital was the first training school for climate strikers held in Naples, Italy on October 2-4, 2019.

The School was organized by the partnership of Fridays for Future Naples(FFF) and Ecologie Politiche del Presente(EPP) with funding from Guerrilla Foundation, right before the start of the second national assembly of Fridays for Future Italy in Naples. The school provided the space for horizontal learning through the exploration of theoretical perspectives and analytical tools on issues concerning climate change, urban social and environmental justice movements, decoloniality, education and pedagogy, energy transition, feminisms and commoning for students and climate strikers. The school saw the participation of high school and university students from many cities in Italy, with an average participation of 100 people at each workshop. The school for climate strikers has been crucial for the strengthening of networks across Italian students’ collectives, seeing the sprouting of more Political Ecology self-organized groups and Fridays for Future nodes in different cities. 

The training school for climate activists in Naples aimed to raise awareness among students around issues of climate change while emphasizing a critical analysis towards aspects of education, sexism, capitalism and the development model based upon the exploitation of specific subjectivities and territories to gain profit. Climate change, the pressing degradation of ecosystems and the 6thmass extinction are expressions of XXI century’s class conflict, moreover, they are all aspects reflecting the incompatibility of capitalism with life reproduction. 

The school has been inspired by the Zapatistas “ConCiencias por la Humanidad”, where we strived to approach environmental education via non-hierarchical and non—frontal pedagogy. We have experienced the importance of continuing the quest for alternative methodologies in approaching students and strikers on topics that demand a transversal strategy in order to account for the complexity of the topics. It emerged that even if media and educational systems do not represent properly the complexity, students are gaining consciousness around the four interrelated mechanisms of oppression through which capitalism keeps its global control: class, gender, race and species. Students have shared the need for alternative educational systems and methods in order to acknowledge that Extinction Capitalism is simultaneously classist, patriarchal, colonial and speciesist. The school aimed at casting a light on the interlinkages and interdisciplinary tools to build intersectional alliances to deal with all aspects of oppression and to avoid authoritarian drifts that can manifest during a state of emergency. 


Workshop 1: Changing the School to Change the System 
Moderators: Monica Capo (FFF) & Nicola Capone (EPP)
Speakers: Vincenzo Mautone (student, UniOr) – Laura Saffiotti (teacher, liceo scientifico Mercalli) – Luca Malgioglio (teacher, Teachers for Future) 

Workshop 2: Climate Crisis and Energy Sources: from Emergency to Alternatives
Moderators: Stefania Barca (EPP) e Sergio Marchese (FFF Milano)
Speakers: Cristina Mangia (researcher, ISAC CNR) – Dario Minervini (researcher,Università Federico II di Napoli) Gianluca Ruggieri (researcher, Università dell’Insubria).
Interventions: Coordinamento Fuori dal Fossile; Re: Common; Mamme No Tap; Civiltà del Sole Campania

Workshop 3: Decolonial Perspectives on Earth-Body-Territory: Struggles against extractivism and for eco-autonomy 
Moderators: Ilenia Iengo (EPP) and Miriam Corongiu (FFF)
Speakers: Maura Peca (researcher at Centro Studi Indipendente sui conflitti ambientali CDCA, Rome) – Antonello Petrillo (Professor, UniSob Naples) – Giuseppe Orlandini (PhD student, UniOr Napoli) – Isabelle Anguelowski (Professor, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)
Interventions: Non Una di Meno Naples; Stop Biocidio; Rete di Cittadinanza e Comunità; Cittadini e Lavoratori Liberi e Pensanti Taranto

Workshop 4: Feminisms and Commoning: the seeds of new alliances
Moderators: Virginia Papaleo (FFF) and Roberto Sciarelli (EPP)
Speakers: Federica Giardini (Professor at Università Roma Tre) – Ilenia Iengo (PhD student at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona) – Salvo Torre (Professor at Università di Catania) 
Interventions: Rete Jin Naples – Non Una di Meno Naples – Rete Beni Comuni

Workshop 5: Occupy Climate Change! Climate Emergency and Urban Social Movements
Moderators: Marco Armiero (EPP) and Gilda Berruti (OCC!)
Speakers: Salvatore Paolo de Rosa (researcher at KTH Stockholm) – Ashley Dawson (Professor at City University of New York) – Lise Sedrez (professor at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) – Federica Palestino (Professor at Federico II University)
Interventions: Legambiente Naples – Comitato No Grandi Navi Venezia – Nuova Cooperazione Organizzata

Open Debate: No Borders: Alliances for Climate Justice 
Moderator:Salvo Torre (University of Catania)
Interventions: Marco Armiero (KTH Stockholm) – Stefania Barca (CES, University of Coimbra) – Miriam Tola (University of Lausanne) – Gennaro Avallone (University of Salerno)

LIFE vs CAPITAL: Presentazione della scuola di formazione
Life vs Capital è la prima scuola di formazione per climate strikers che si tiene a Napoli dal 2 al 4 ottobre 2019, precedentemente alla seconda assemblea na…

LIFE vs CAPITAL: “Decolonizzare la terra/corpo/territorio. Lotte anti-estrative”
Life vs Capital è la prima scuola di formazione per climate strikers che si tiene a Napoli dal 2 al 4 ottobre 2019, precedentemente alla seconda assemblea na…
LIFE vs CAPITAL: “Decolonizzare la terra/corpo/territorio. Lotte anti-estrattive”
Life vs Capital è la prima scuola di formazione per climate strikers che si tiene a Napoli dal 2 al 4 ottobre 2019, precedentemente alla seconda assemblea na…

LIFE vs CAPITAL: “Femminismi e lotte per il comune: terreni per nuove alleanze”

Life vs Capital è la prima scuola di formazione per climate strikers che si tiene a Napoli dal 2 al 4 ottobre 2019, precedentemente alla seconda assemblea na…

Climate change is a man-made problem — with a feminist solution!

Join former Irish President Mary Robinson and comedian Maeve Higgins in this uplifting new podcast, celebrating amazing women doing remarkable things in pursuit of climate justice.

Each episode features the Mothers of Invention driving powerful solutions to climate change – from the grassroots to the court room, the front lines to the board room – all over the world.

Mothers Of Invention is a podcast on feminist climate change solutions from (mostly) women around the world.

Women are more likely to be affected by climate change, so women who are spearheading compassionate solutions. Mary, Maeve, and a different guest host every week dig into the biggest climate issues of our time. We learn how to cope, empower and enact change through the eyes of extraordinary women driving climate innovation– our Mothers of Invention. People-powered initiatives to new government policy to groundbreaking research to hard science. It’s not over till it’s over.