Environmental Defenders Project

In Memory & Honor of Berta Cáceres Flores

4 March 1973 - 3 March 2016


It bears repeating and clarifying that the Kawas case is the only binding Rule Of Law in the world today for protection of at-risk Environment & Land Rights defenders.

This article explains the landmark precedent-setting case which requires protection of at-risk environmental human rights defenders by ALL governments (and by extension to corporate actors). 

It can and should be cited as international law worldwide. 

Berta Cáceres told me Ms. Kawas was deeply inspiring to her and agreed it is so important we educate communities & advocates around the world to cite to this unique Kawas case, not only in judicial settings but also in accountability mechanisms at all levels. 

Also important we all understand the travesty of justice of the Mexican Ecologists case which immediately followed Jeannette's, as noted in the Epilogue. (Co-written with Jonathan Kaufman when he was legal director at EarthRights International.)

   This is a pioneering case considering the context of historical violence that natural resources defenders have to face throughout the Americas and around the world... 

The groundbreaking CEDHA –Center for Human Rights & Environment 2002-03 Report,

The Human Cost of Defending the Planet, described the unfortunate reality that exists in the world today: To be an environmentalist is a dangerous undertaking; environmental activists in the Americas and around the world are being systematically beaten, threatened, detained, raped, tortured and murdered as part of a deliberate attempt to silence and intimidate both the defenders and those they represent.

This policy note examines the reasoning and implications of the judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the milestone case of Kawas v. Honduras.

In its first-ever ruling on environmental defenders, the Court found a positive obligation on the part of member states in the Hemisphere to protect environmentalists who are in serious jeopardy from human rights violations.

The Kawas case is a paradigmatic example of the constant threats these activists encounter, both in the Americas and internationally, and states in the region are now on notice to ensure special protection to those most in danger of harm.

The Court arrived at the remarkable juncture of ‘making visible and potentially punishable what heretofore has been invisible and unpunished’.

An Epilogue addresses the subsequent ruling in the ‘Mexican Ecologists’ case, and offers recommendations to human rights and environmental defenders and practitioners both regionally and internationally.


Kawas v. Honduras: Protecting Environmental Defenders

This Policy & Practice Note was published by Oxford University Press

Journal of Human Rights Practice, Vol. 3, Issue 3.

Download PDF of the article in English here (free):

J Human Rights Practice Enviro Defenders cases article.pdf

**Descargue aquí FINAL Tanner Articulo ESP Caso Kawas.pdf

el artículo traducido en español

sobre los Defensores del MedioAmbiente.**

                                CONTENTS ON THIS PAGE

  1. 1)Kawas v. Honduras: Protecting Environmental Defenders

    Links to PDF & Online versions of article in Journal of Human Rights Practice, Oxford University Press - includes NEW Epilogue

  1. 2)Commentaries for OECD Guidelines Update Human Rights Chapter and Guiding Principles of the UN Special Representative on Business & Human Rights - January 2011

  1. 3)Institute for Human Rights & Business GUEST COMMENTARY: Protecting Human Rights and Environmental Defenders

  1. 4)Interview with International Court of Justice (previously Inter-American Court of Human Rights President) Judge Antônio A. Cançado Trindade, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 31, 2009

  1. 5)Empathy & Guerrilla Lawyering - Essay in GUILD JOURNAL, Vol. 65, No. 24 (2009)

  1. 6)Résumé - January 2014

I welcome and look forward to your comments & suggestions about all of my articles. Please email me at address above, call me on USA mobile tel. 415-713-2878 or Skype by appointment: laurirosetanner. Thank you.



    Interview with Judge Antônio A. Cançado Trindade, former President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), on the occasion of his retirement from the IACHR. He is now a Judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.


    Author, international law professor, and renowned jurist, Cançado Trindade discusses his precedential accomplishments while on the bench of the IACHR for more than twelve years, his path to becoming a judge, and his legacy.

    (Preface by Dean Claudio Grossman, American University Washington College of Law. The Introduction is by Francisco Rivera, previously Senior Attorney, IACHR.)



Interview with World Court Judge Antônio A. Cançado Trindade,

previously at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Download Human Rights Quarterly article here: FinalHRQtanner.pdf


    This short essay is dedicated to my father, Dr. Robert Tanner, who passed away recently, and who inspired me throughout his life with both his empathy and sense of historical perspective, two of the compelling threads that run through Paul Harris’ engaging ‘Guerrilla Lawyering’ law school course and his book Black Rage Confronts the Law (New York University Press, 1997.)

    My father was an avid reader during almost all of his eighty-nine years, and on the personalized nameplates he put inside of his hundreds of books, he quoted the last stanza of a poem by the renowned labor activist Ralph Chaplin:

“Mourn Not The Dead”…

But rather mourn the apathetic throng

The cowed and the meek

Who see the world’s great anguish

And dare not speak.


Empathy & Guerrilla Lawyering:

“What Happens to a Dream Deferred?”

Download proof of National Lawyers Guild Journal here:

GuildPractitioner w article.pdf

Lauri R. Tanner Résumé

Download LRTannerResume18Jan2014WEB.pdf

For my nonprofit fundraising consulting information

& also details on my Creating Film Festivals book,

please visithttp://www.filmfestivalbook.com

email: laurirose@mac.com

or Skype (by appointment only): laurirosetanner.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you.

All material contained herein is
Copyright 1993-2017  Lauri Rose Tanner.  All rights reserved.


Commentaries on a Human Rights Chapter for

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises Update

and The Guiding Principles of the

UN Special Representative on Business & Human Rights

    This paper addresses the multi-faceted issue of the inclusion of a new Human Rights chapter in the current 2010-2011 Update of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNEs), and argues for the addition of a Commentary to this new chapter regarding protection of at-risk human rights defenders and environmental defenders

To download article, please scroll down to my name on this page: http://www.business-humanrights.org/SpecialRepPortal/Home/Protect-Respect-Remedy-Framework/GuidingPrinciples/Submissions



A new, short version of this Working Paper is available

as a GUEST COMMENTARY (<--- view here) on the

Institute for Human Rights & Business site.



Lauri R. Tanner was recently awarded the LL.M. degree in International Human Rights from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, California, where she earned her J.D. She also received an M.A. degree from GGU’s Graduate School of Management, and obtained her B.A. in Psychology from Antioch College.

Lauri lived for more than 10 years in Guatemala and México, working as an activist & advocate in the areas of health & human rights, communications development, and environmental justice. She has also served for over 25 years as a fundraising & development consultant with individuals (mainly documentary filmmakers), NGOs and other nonprofit groups in the U.S. and internationally.

In conjunction with writing her post-graduate thesis on protection of at-risk environmental defenders from human rights violations around the world, Lauri is currently working to bring together various environmental, human rights & corporate accountability NGOs to create an innovative international campaign to shine a spotlight on & help support environmental and land rights activists in their courageous efforts. 

Please see below my article from the Oxford Press Journal of Human Rights Practice on the landmark environmental defenders case Kawas v. Honduras.

Even though this Kawas case took place in the Inter-American Human Rights Court, its precedent-setting requirement that governments must protect at-risk environmental activists has global relevance, and should be utilized & cited in every possible context by these defenders who are being attacked and criminalized around the world.

** Artículo en español abajo **

Contacts welcomed (info below) to discuss your interest in this work.

Thank you.


Human Rights Advocacy and Research

Lauri Rose Tanner

Fundraising Consulting for Nonprofits and NGOs 


@EnviroDefenders Twitter