Category Archives: Media

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

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


  • 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

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.

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.

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

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.


  • 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).

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

Monday, August 24th, 11:00 AM CT

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

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.

AEHR News Releases & Announcements

Category : Media

d 10 steps that President Obama can take to protect the Gulf Region and other communities vulnerable to climate change. The 10 Steps for Climate Action were developed by AEHR and a coalition of diverse organizations based in the Gulf Region.

“We want to bring attention to the human suffering already taking place from disastrous weather events in the Gulf Region of the United States,” said Nathalie Walker, Co-Director and Attorney with AEHR. “The Gulf Region needs a strong climate change treaty that can move our government, which has done a poor job regarding coastal erosion, flood protection and disaster response, as well as pollution from carbon-intensive industries,” she said.

For the last three days of the international climate conference, President Obama and leaders of over 100 nations will travel to Copenhagen to reach agreement on a climate change treaty. “An effective climate change treaty should function like a global insurance policy that curbs atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to 350 parts per million and prioritizes protections for communities in the U.S. and around the world that are in the cross-hairs of climate change effects,” said Michele Roberts, Campaign & Policy Director with AEHR, who is in Copenhagen for the treaty negotiation session. “If we compel our leaders to do what it takes to protect our human right to live in a healthy environment, we can mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change,” added Roberts.

The advertisement will appear December 16 through 18 (the last three days of the UN climate conference) in the COP 15 Post, a special daily newspaper published during the climate treaty negotiations by the only English language newspaper in Copenhagen, The Copenhagen Post.

AEHR News Releases & Announcements

Category : Media

Gulf States Human Rights Working Group • Equity and Inclusion Campaign Greater New Orleans Organizer’s Roundtable • US Human Rights Network’s UPR Project
January 25, 2010

Media Briefing –
Tue., Jan. 26th at 6:30 pm
Human Rights Consultation open to the media
Wed., Jan. 27th from 9:00 – 9:30 am

Contact: Nathalie Walker, AEHR/Gulf States Human Rights Working Group, 504.453.6791
Kali Akuno, US Human Rights Network’s UPR Project, 510.593.3956

Obama Administration to Hold First Human Rights Consultation in New Orleans
Gulf Region Advocates Will Highlight Post-Katrina Injustices

New Orleans, LA– 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. The purpose of these sessions is to assist the government in developing the U.S. human rights report for submission to the United Nations’ first Universal Periodic Review (“UPR”) in November 2010. More details about the UPR can be found on the US Human Rights Network’s website:

“Given the United Nations’ recent observations of human rights violations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we are pleased that the Obama Administration has chosen New Orleans as the first stop in its multi-city human rights consultation,” said Nathalie Walker, Co-Director and Attorney at Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, which is a co-coordinator of the Gulf States Human Rights Working Group. “We are encouraging people throughout the Gulf Region to participate in the New Orleans session,” she said.

As co-sponsors of this historic convening, the Gulf States Human Rights Working Group, the Equity and Inclusion Campaign, the Greater New Orleans Organizers’ Roundtable, and the US Human Rights Network’s UPR Project have worked with the Obama administration to plan the consultation and conducted outreach to Gulf Region communities.

“The UPR Process offers an important opportunity to address how the United States is meeting its human rights obligations under the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, to pressure the government to live up to its obligations, and to provide concrete and constructive recommendations about steps the U.S. can take to ensure the protection and promotion of rights and dignity for all,” says Kali Akuno, Director of Education, Training, & Field Operations, US Human Rights Network’s UPR Project.

“Like any other member state in the United Nations, the United States must be committed to full transparency; the UPR process provides the space for civil society to formally engage with the government around human rights challenges,” said Adren Wilson, National Director of the Equity and Inclusion Campaign. “We welcome the Obama Administration to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast with a spirit of cooperation, transparency and accountability,” he said.

The New Orleans consultation will focus on the fulfillment of human rights protections that address racial discrimination; criminal justice; economic justice and equity, including housing rights and forced evictions; health and healthcare; and environmental justice and sustainability. The human rights consultation will be held Wednesday, January 27th from 9 am – 3 pm at the Xavier University Student Center, which is open to the media from 9:00-9:30 am. On the evening before the consultation, co-sponsor organizations will hold a 6:00 pm reception/orientation that includes a 6:30 pm media briefing at the Children’s Defense Fund, 1452 N. Broad Street in New Orleans.

AEHR News Releases & Announcements

Category : Media

US Government to Take on Human Rights Recommendations
November 9, 2010

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

Environmental Justice and Internally Displaced New Orleanians
and Gulf Region Residents Are Part of UN Human Rights Council’s
Review of the United States

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. The United Nations Human Rights Council, which conducts the UPR, prepared a report on human rights issues in the United States that included criticism of the government’s role in preventing displaced residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Region from returning home. “Not enough has been done at the federal, state, or local level to replace affordable rental units, public housing, as well as schools and hospitals, failings which have disproportionately impacted the poor and communities of colour,” according to the UN Human Rights Council’s report. In addition to numerous other human rights issues, the UN Human Rights Council’s report acknowledges the racial discrimination that results from US environmental standards.

Representatives of the US Government participating in the UPR in Geneva, Switzerland issued a written statement in response to the 228 human rights recommendations, noting that some of the recommendations fall within the Obama Administration’s agenda, while others merit a fuller discussion with federal, state, and local governments and the public. The US Government’s statement groups the recommendations into ten categories, several of which focus on the human rights violation of racial discrimination. According to the US Government’s statement, there will be an inter-agency examination of all the human rights recommendations in preparation for a follow-up UN Human Rights Council session in March 2011.

“This is a positive step forward by our government that promises a full and just recovery for people in New Orleans and the Gulf Region, who have suffered 5 major disasters in the last 5 years, as well as achieving environmental justice,” said Monique Harden, Co-Director and Attorney of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights (“AEHR”) in New Orleans, Louisiana.

AEHR and several community organizations will convene a forum today to discuss the UPR human rights recommendations and the US Government’s response, highlight human rights advocacy undertaken by local groups, and feature cultural arts performances. The forum takes place at First Grace United Methodist Church in New Orleans at 5:30 pm today.

AEHR co-wrote a report on the human rights abuses taking place in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that was incorporated in the UN Human Rights Council’s report on the United States. In addition, AEHR filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States charging the US Government with violating the human rights of African American residents of Mossville, Louisiana who suffer from industrial toxic pollution and environmental damage allowed under the flawed U.S. environmental regulatory system. In March, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ruled that the Mossville human rights petition was admissible for a review on the merits, marking the first time that an international human rights tribunal has taken jurisdiction over a case of environmental racism in the United States.

AEHR News Releases & Announcements

Category : Media

UN rights expert to study USA’s key role as a world leader in foreign aid to water and sanitation projects

WASHINGTON DC / GENEVA, 17 February 2011
(UN Information Service Washington, DC)

UN 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 Government’s efforts to ensure that the rights to safe drinking water and sanitation are guaranteed in its territory, and the extent to which these rights are promoted through official development aid.

“As a world leader in foreign aid to the water and sanitation sectors, the United States in a unique position to promote these human rights,” noted the Independent Expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to examine the issue of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

“I will also closely examine the domestic situation, including challenges in access to safe drinking water and sanitation for low income groups, minority groups, homeless people, and Native American communities,” Ms. de Albuquerque said.

As human rights, all people, without discrimination, must have access to safe drinking water and sanitation, which is affordable, acceptable, available and safe. States must continually take steps to ensure that access to these fundamental rights is guaranteed.

“This mission will particularly consider the situation of the most vulnerable groups with a special emphasis on the human rights principles of equality, non-discrimination, participation and accountability,” she added.

The Independent Expert will take part in a hearing on the human right to water at the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, on 3 March 2011.

Ms. de Albuquerque will meet with Government officials, representatives of Congress, water and wastewater operators, and representatives from civil society and academia. Besides official Government meetings in the capital, Washington, DC, she will also visit Boston, California and Maryland. Her findings and recommendations will be presented in a report to the Human Rights Council.

A press conference will be held at the United Nations Information Center in Washington DC on 4 March at 12:00.

Catarina de Albuquerque is a Portuguese lawyer currently working as a senior legal adviser at the Office for Documentation and Comparative Law (an independent institution under the Portuguese Prosecutor General’s Office) in the area of human rights. She holds a DES in international relations with a specialization in international law from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. She was appointed as Independent Expert in September 2008 and took up her functions in November 2008.

Learn more about the Independent Expert’s mandate and work, log on to:

OHCHR Country Page – USA:

For more information and media requests, please contact Yoonie Kim (Tel.: 011 41 79 752 0483 / e-mail: or write to

AEHR News Releases & Announcements

Category : Media

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

What BP Oil Disaster 1 Year Anniversary Memorial

When Wednesday, April 20, 2011, 11am – 5pm
12 noon Press Conference at the Pointe-a-La-Hache Marina

Who – Host Organizations: Louisiana Oystermen Association, Fishermen and Concerned Citizens Association, Zion Travelers Cooperative Center

         – Supporting Groups: Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, Coastal Women for Change, Concerned Citizens of the Agriculture Street Landfill, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice – Dillard University, Equity and Inclusion Campaign, Gert Town Revival Initiative, Louisiana Bayou Keepers, LA Bucket Brigade, Louisiana Justice Institute, Louisiana Shrimp Association, Mary Queen of Vietnam CDC, Mossville Environmental Action Now, Inc., Moving Forward Gulf Coast, Inc., Sierra Club Delta Chapter, United Commercial Fishermen, United Louisiana Vietnamese American Fisherfolks

WhyTo honor the people whose lives were cut short by the BP disaster and other industrial hazards, lift he voices of the people whose livelihoods have been taken away by the BP disaster, and build solidarity among Gulf Region communities for coastal restoration that ensures local workforce development and legislative action for safe and healthy Gulf communities.