Climate Justice & Human Rights in the Middle East & North Africa

11/3/16
ELAW Bulletin

Unless tagging penguins becomes part of my job, last week I stepped for the last time in my life onto a new continent: Africa.

Dr. Heidi Weiskel (in red) with workshop participants.

I was in Casablanca, Morocco to represent ELAW and participate in a strategic climate litigation workshop -- "Connecting Climate Justice with Human Rights in the Courts" -- with public interest attorneys from all over the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
 
The workshop was engaging, inspiring, and informative. I learned a tremendous amount. It was run by Our Children's Trust and hosted by the Global Network for Public Interest Law and the Kingdom of Morocco National Human Rights Council.
 
I was also there to continue ELAW's outreach efforts in the region. We are currently hosting a Moroccan Fellow at our Eugene office, Dr. Samyra Idllalène, and we are collaborating with partners in Israel, Palestine, and Egypt. The region is a global hotspot for climate change and environmental justice, and there are many advocates there who we are eager to support.
 
Attorneys from Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, Jordan, France, and the U.S. attended the workshop. Many of the MENA region attorneys are human rights lawyers, and the focus on environmental justice is a natural evolution for them.
 
The workshop focused on the use of the public trust doctrine. As is so often the case when working with fellow advocates for the earth, participants quickly developed a sense of personal trust.
 
On our final night we all hugged goodbye, reluctant to part. One of the Tunisian lawyers called it our new "circle of trust."
 
Let ELAW carry their trust forward.
 
Thank you for supporting our work.
 
Heidi Weiskel
ELAW Staff Scientist


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