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Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Silencing the Critics: How big polluters try to paralyse environmental and human rights advocacy through the courts

Since 2015, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has tracked 1,852 killings, beatings, threats and other forms of intimidation against indigenous and community leaders, farmers, workers, unions, journalists and civil society groups focused on business-related issues. Increasingly, companies turn to the courts to bring lawsuits against such defenders with the aim of silencing or intimidating them and stopping their work.

These lawsuits are commonly referred to as Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). This snapshot looks at 24 SLAPPs brought by 12 carbon majors, active fossil fuel producers that are the largest corporate contributors to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and other mining companies, and one industry association, between 2015 and 2018 in Asia, Latin America, North America, and Africa, and how investors can use their leverage to ensure portfolio companies do not engage in such practices.