What Is This Session About?
During the week of May 14-18, 2018, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Session on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change asked its judges to apply the standards of international human rights law and render an advisory opinion on the following four questions:
“The petitioners seek an advisory opinion from the Tribunal on four fundamental legal questions associated with the impacts of fracking and climate change.
- First, under what circumstances do fracking and other unconventional oil and gas extraction techniques breach substantive and procedural human rights protected by international law as a matter of treaty or custom?
- Second, under what circumstances do fracking and other unconventional oil and gas extraction techniques warrant the issuance of either provisional measures, a judgment enjoining further activity, remediation relief, or damages for causing environmental harm?
- Third, what is the extent of responsibility and liability of States and non-state actors for violations of human rights and for environmental and climate harm caused by these oil and gas extraction techniques
- Fourth, what is the extent of responsibility and liability of States and non-state actors, both legal and moral, for violations of the rights of nature related to environmental and climate harm caused by these unconventional oil and gas extraction techniques?”
States, as primary duty-bearers for protecting the human rights of their citizens, are the central focus of this investigation, though fossil fuel corporations may be implicated in witness testimony.
The Tribunal’s panel of seven or nine judges — about half of whom will be jurists experienced in international human rights law and expert in this field, and about half of whom will be highly respected members of civil society — will hear testimony submitted by victims, witnesses and experts in various fields, will hear attorneys’ arguments and will issue its advisory opinion on the above questions.
Evidence is being collected right now via submissions to this website, via pre-PPT tribunals held in various locations, and by any other means people may choose. Evidence may include personal witness narratives (which can be submitted via this site), expert testimony on the practices and impacts of fracking, findings from preliminary hearings in other countries, peer reviewed research, reports from citizen groups, Human Rights Impact Assessments and amicus curiae briefs.
The Tribunal was asked to provide an advisory opinion on the above four questions with a view to the following six areas of concern:
- The human health case will address the human rights dimensions of adverse impacts on all dimensions of human physical and mental health.
- The climate impacts case will address all the human rights and earth rights dimensions, for both present and future generations, of fracking and climate change, including of governments’ continued subsidizing of fossil fuels.
- The environmental, ecosystem, hydrologic and seismicity cases will address the human rights and earth rights dimensions of adverse environmental, ecosystem and wildlife impacts as well as impacts on air, surface water, groundwater and earthquakes.
- The public participation case will include the human rights dimensions of public participation (or lack thereof) in decision-making about unconventional oil and gas exploration, extraction and policy-making.
- The fuels infrastructure case will address the human rights and earth rights dimensions of exploration, drilling, fracking, extraction and delivery processes as well as of the infrastructure needed for transport, storage and export of product and waste (e.g., pipelines, storage facilities, waste treatment facilities, waste water disposal, LNG terminals, compressor stations, etc).
- The social costs case will address the human rights dimensions of social and cultural impacts on individuals, families and communities.
Preliminary short tribunals were conducted in 2017 and early 2018. Testimony and results from those pre-PPT tribunals were submitted in mid-March for review by attorneys prior to the plenary hearings.
What this Tribunal understands “fracking” to mean can be seen here.