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Advocates for Environmental Human Rights (“AEHR”) is a nonprofit, public interest law firm whose mission is to provide legal services, community organizing support, public education, and campaigns focused on defending and advancing the human right to a healthy environment, and advocating for the human rights of internally displaced Gulf Coast hurricane survivors.

Learn more about current projects: OUR WORK 


BP Oil Disaster 1 Year Anniversary Memorial Event April 20, 2011
April 19, 2011
 . . . Historic Fishing, Oyster Harvesting, and Shrimping Village to Memorialize the BP Oil Drilling Disaster in Plaquemines Parish with Marsh Grass Plantings and Mural – Diverse Gulf Communities Gather in Rememberance of the People and Communities Lost to the BP Disaster and Other Industrial Hazards.

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UN-appointed independent expert to study USA’s practices regarding the human right to water and sanitation
February 25, 2011
 . . . UN-appointed independent expert Catarina de Albuquerque will visit the United States of America from 22 February to 4 March 2011. During her first mission to the country, she will collect first hand information about the policies and practices of the Government with respect to the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, focusing on non-discrimination and good practices in overcoming challenges in the drinking water and sanitation sectors.

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US Government to Take on Human Rights Recommendations
November 9, 2010
 . . . In a first-time review of the United States Government’s human rights record, known as the Universal Periodic Review (“UPR”), over 200 recommendations for protecting human rights were presented to the US Government.
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Obama Administration to Hold First Human Rights Consultation in New Orleans
January 25, 2010
 . . . Members of the Obama Administration will travel to New Orleans to solicit information and recommendations regarding the US Government’s fulfillment of its obligation to protect human rights. New Orleans is the first of several cities where the administration will hold human rights consultation sessions with civil society.

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New Orleans Group’s Climate Change Advertisement in Copenhagen Newspaper Puts the Spotlight on the Gulf Region
December 16, 2009
 . . . For each of the three final days of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, AEHR is running a full page newspaper advertisement that focuses on the trauma of Hurricane Katrina and 10 steps that President Obama can take to protect the Gulf Region and other communities vulnerable to climate change. 

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AEHR Thanks President Obama for His Upcoming Visit to New Orleans & Urges A New Direction on Gulf Coast Recovery
October 12, 2009
 . . . President Obama will visit New Orleans on Thursday, October 15, 2009. “We are hopeful that President Obama’s visit will be the beginning of a new direction on Gulf Coast recovery that is rooted in human rights protections,” says AEHR Co-Director Nathalie Walker.

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New Report Highlights Unique Challenges to Census 2010 in the Gulf Coast
Monday, August 24, 2009 11:00 a.m. | Children’s Defense Fund-Louisiana, 1452 North Broad Street, New Orleans, LA . . . The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) will hold a press conference to release a new report, “Counting in the Wake of a Catastrophe: Challenges and Recommendations for the 2010 Census in the Gulf Coast Region.” The release of the report coincides with the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. 

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National Group of Investors to Examine the Environmental Impacts
of Industrial Corporations on Louisiana Communities

Friday, June 5, 2009 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. | The bus tour will depart from the Loews Hotel at 300 Poydras Street and continue to Mossville, LA. . . . Advocates for Environmental Human Rights (“AEHR”) will host a fact-finding mission on environmental justice for the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (“ICCR”), which is holding its annual conference in New Orleans the week of June 2 – 5, 2009.

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AEHR to Brief Congress on Innovations in Environmental & Health Policy
A Congressional Briefing Sponsored by U.S. Representative Donna Edwards (D-MD)
Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 12noon | Rayburn House Office Building – Room 2253, Washington, DC . . . The growing interest in moving our country towards a green economy is an important opportunity for Congress to not only work on legislation that supports sustainable technologies and job creation, but to also re-examine the effectiveness of the environmental regulatory system. A critical question for the 111th Congress is whether a green economy can be achieved with the current environmental regulatory system.

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MEDIA

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Media

For media inquiries, please contact:

Nathalie Walker
Co-Director & Attorney (504) 799-3060
nwalker@ehumanrights.org


Protecting the Human Right to Return with Dignity & Justice After Hurricane Katrina

Category : Our Work

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Gulf Coast reconstruction policies by the Bush Administration have created a housing crisis that unjustly prolongs the displacement of thousands of predominantly African American residents, subjected workers to discrimination, exploitation, and abuse, prioritized the funding of charter schools that can exercise selective admissions criteria to exclude students, and denied local governmental requests for assistance to build a comprehensive and effective flood protection system, public healthcare facilities, and other critical infrastructure.  The Stafford Act, the federal law on governmental responses to national emergencies and disasters, fails to protect Gulf Coast residents from these governmental policies that seek to privatize communities and public services.

The lack of housing, healthcare, schools, environmental protection, and flood protection for displaced Gulf Coast residents – who are predominantly African American – and the abusive treatment of hurricane evacuees and reconstruction workers – who are predominantly people of color – constitute a denial of human rights protections by governmental authorities.

AEHR advocates for a just, sustainable, and anti-racist rebuilding of Gulf Coast communities that respects the human right of all residents to return.  Central to our advocacy is raising public awareness about the need for implementing the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in every aspect of Gulf Coast recovery efforts in order to protect the human rights of displaced and returning residents.


Defending and Advancing the Human Right to a Healthy Environment

Category : Our Work

Across the United States, people of color and poor communities have been subjected to toxic pollution and other environmental hazards in the places where we live, work, and play.  The U.S. government has established a complex environmental regulatory system that facilitates and perpetuates environmental racism and injustice.  By permitting toxic and hazardous facilities to operate in close proximity to people of color and poor communities, the U.S. government prioritizes the economic interests of polluting industries above the protection of the fundamental human rights to life, health, racial equality, and security of one’s home.

AEHR advocates for what is at the heart of the struggle for environmental justice – the protection of life, health, and racial equality – by applying human rights laws to remedy governmental systems that subject communities, especially communities of color, to severely toxic environments.


OUR WORK

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Our Work

Defending and Advancing the Human Right to a Healthy Environment
AEHR works to achieve environmental justice by advocating for the human right to a healthy environment, as well as the human rights to life, health, racial equality, and security of one’s home.

Protecting the Human Right to Return with Dignity & Justice After Hurricane Katrina 
AEHR advocates for a just, sustainable, and anti-racist rebuilding of Gulf Coast communities that respects the right of all residents to voluntarily return to their communities with dignity and justice.


ABOUT

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About

The founders and co-directors of AEHR are Monique Harden and Nathalie Walker, attorneys whose combined twenty-five years of legal services, community organizing support, and broad spectrum of public advocacy activities have helped numerous communities achieve important environmental justice victories.  AEHR is guided by a Board of Directors and Advisory Committee comprised of skilled advocates who have expertise in environmental health policymaking, human rights advocacy, community organizing, social science research, chemistry, industrial engineering, and environmental medicine.

Bios

Monique Harden, Co-Director & Attorney
Headquarters – New Orleans, LA

Since 1996, Ms. Harden has provided legal counsel and advocacy support that have helped community organizations win important environmental justice victories.  In 2003, Ms. Harden, along with Nathalie Walker, co-founded Advocates for Environmental Human Rights. Ms. Harden is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Law (1995), and received a B.A. from St. John’s College (1990).  Ms. Harden has authored and co-authored numerous reports and papers on environmental justice and human rights issues.  Her advocacy work has been featured in television, radio and print news, as well as books, magazines, and documentaries.

Nathalie Walker, Co-Director & Attorney
Headquarters – New Orleans, LA

Since 1991, Ms. Walker has provided legal counsel and advocacy support that have helped community organizations win important environmental justice victories.  In 2003, Ms. Walker, along with Monique Harden, co-founded Advocates for Environmental Human Rights. Ms. Walker is a graduate of Tulane University Law School (1981), and received an M.A. (1973) and B.A. (1972) from the University of Michigan.  Ms. Walker has authored and co-authored numerous reports and papers on environmental justice and human rights issues.  Her advocacy work has been featured in television and print news, as well as books, magazines, and documentaries.


AEHR News Releases & Announcements

Category : Media

Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 12noon
Rayburn House Office Building – Room 2253, Washington, DC

AEHR to Brief Congress on Innovations in Environmental & Health Policy
A Congressional Briefing Sponsored by U.S. Representative Donna Edwards (D-MD)

The growing interest in moving our country towards a green economy is an important opportunity for Congress to not only work on legislation that supports sustainable technologies and job creation, but to also re-examine the effectiveness of the environmental regulatory system. A critical question for the 111th Congress is whether a green economy can be achieved with the current environmental regulatory system.

The briefing will provide an analysis of human rights-based innovations in environmental and health laws and policies that are emerging in other countries and helping to spur a green economy. Legal experts and community leaders will discuss how these innovations point to steps that Congress can take to ensure environmental protection for all people, remedy disproportionate pollution burdens harming people of color and the poor, and stimulate a green economy.

Speakers will include:

  • Monique Harden and Nathalie Walker, Co-Directors and Attorneys of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights
  • David Prince, Boardmember of Mossville Environmental Action Now
  • Roger Kim, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network
  • Donele Wilkins, Executive Director of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice

To RSVP for this event, please contact Michele Roberts, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, at 202.775.0055 or mroberts@ehumanrights.org.


AEHR News Releases & Announcements

Category : Media

For Immediate Release
June 4, 2009

National Group of Investors to Examine the Environmental Impacts
of Industrial Corporations on Louisiana Communities

WHO:

  • Advocates for Environmental Human Rights
  • Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility
  • Trillium Asset Management Corporation
  • Mossville Environmental Action Now
  • United Houma Nation
  • Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
  • The Subra Company
  • Gulf Restoration Network

WHAT:
Advocates for Environmental Human Rights (“AEHR”) will host a fact-finding mission on environmental justice for the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (“ICCR”), which is holding its annual conference in New Orleans this week (June 2 -5, 2009). ICCR’s membership is an association of 275 faith-based institutional investors, including national denominations, religious communities, pension funds, foundations, hospital corporations, economic development funds, asset management companies, colleges, and unions that are dedicated to transforming corporate policies and practices to ensure justice and sustainability. The environmental justice bus tour will start in New Orleans and travel to the community of Mossville, near Lake Charles. Local environmental justice, indigenous community, and coastal restoration groups will present information to ICCR members that details the environmental and health impacts of industrial operations in their communities.

WHEN:
Friday, June 5, 2009 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WHERE:
The bus tour will depart from the Loews Hotel at 300 Poydras Street and continue to Mossville, LA.


AEHR News Releases & Announcements

Category : Media

Report to be Released on the Four-Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
August 24, 2009

New Report Highlights Unique Challenges
to Census 2010 in the Gulf Coast

NEW ORLEANS — 
On Monday, August 24 at 11:00 AM CT, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) will hold a press conference to release a new report, “Counting in the Wake of a Catastrophe: Challenges and Recommendations for the 2010 Census in the Gulf Coast Region.” The release of the report coincides with the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The report:

  • Describes the high stakes for the Gulf Coast in the census and how the count will affect the recovery and the region over the next 10 years.
  • Assesses the current situation in the region and the impact of unique demographic trends that emphasize the exceptional challenges to achieving an accurate count, particularly among vulnerable populations.
  • Makes recommendations to policy makers and the Census Bureau to ensure the most accurate count possible.

WHO:

  • Wade Henderson, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR)
  • Trap Bonner, Executive Director of Moving Forward Gulf Coast
  • Monique Harden, Co-Director, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights (AEHR).

WHAT:
Release of New Report on the Gulf Coast’s Unique Census 2010 Challenges in the Wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

WHEN:
Monday, August 24th, 11:00 AM CT

WHERE:
Children’s Defense Fund-Louisiana
1452 North Broad Street
New Orleans, LA 70119


AEHR News Releases & Announcements

Category : Media

How President Obama Can Protect Our Common Home
October 12, 2009

by
Monique Harden, Co-Director & Attorney
Advocates for Environmental Human Rights

Submission to The New Orleans Tribune

Our environment is our common home, and in this home we all live with massive coastal erosion, inadequate flood protection, and sea level rise with the threat of increasingly severe storms due to climate change. These environmental conditions contributed to the displacement of nearly 1,000,000 people when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Region. What has been lacking in the years following Katrina and successive hurricanes is a federal government that assumes the same kind of responsibility that it does in foreign countries when people are forced to flee their homes as a result of a disaster. This responsibility entails preventing or at least mitigating the environmental conditions that can cause people to become displaced, and extends to protecting the rights of displaced people to permanent housing, healthcare and mental health services, education, and employment opportunities. President Obama has the legal authority and the moral imperative to take on this responsibility, and here’s how he can do it.

First, the legal authority. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act is the federal law that provides the President with broad discretionary authority in responding to a national disaster. This means – as former President George W. Bush knew all too well – there is no governmental accountability. It would be strategic for President Obama to start now to work with Congress to overhaul this law to require governmental accountability. President Obama can lead the way by establishing a just and equitable recovery agenda for the Gulf Region that entails coastal restoration, effective flood protection, and meeting other critical needs for affordable housing, healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. Such an agenda should provide Gulf Region residents with seats at the tables where recovery policies and funding will be decided.

The particulars of a just and equitable recovery agenda are found in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, a policy that our government has advocated for in international arenas and, with our tax dollars, applies abroad. The US State Department’s USAID Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons Policy describes the Guiding Principles as “a useful tool and framework” for ensuring the recovery of people displaced by a disaster. In fact, our government has celebrated foreign countries that have adopted the Guiding Principles as law. According to the Guiding Principles, it is an obligation of national governments to prevent or mitigate conditions that can cause population displacement; protect the rights of displaced persons to voluntarily return home or resettle elsewhere in the country; prevent “ethnic cleansing” or any action that is aimed at or results in the alteration of the racial, ethnic or religious composition of the affected population; ensure the participation of displaced persons in recovery decision-making; and support displaced persons to access permanent housing, healthcare, education, and employment opportunities.

As for the moral imperative, the social justice values that President Obama upholds compel action that makes recovery a reality. The moral imperative is magnified by the collective struggles of children, women, and men from the Gulf Region who continue to suffer the destabilizing and traumatic effects of displacement brought on by an unsustainable environment and prolonged by the absence of governmental accountability.