Exclusive Green Interview with Jan van de Venis, an extraordinary Dutch lawyer working to advance the view that sustainable development is inextricably linked to human rights issues.
Jan van de Venis
Jan van de Venis, an extraordinary Dutch lawyer and founder of the law firm JustLaw, speaks with Silver Donald Cameron in this exclusive Green Interview about how he connects environmental and human rights law through his work advising organizations on the links between sustainable development goals and human rights as well as train human rights institutions all over the world to work on sustainable development, including water and climate issues.
Stand up for Your Rights, Grrowd, and Guardians for Future Generations
Jan van de Venis is a Dutch lawyer who is working to make the connections between human and environmental rights. In this exclusive Green Interview, van de Venis discusses the work of Stand Up for Your Rights, a crowd-funding site called Grrowd, and the concept of Guardians for Future Generations.
In this exclusive interview with Jan van de Venis we discuss:
Stand Up for Your Rights
Jan van de Venis is co-founder and board Chair of Stand up for your Rights,” an NGO that he calls “the bridge builder between human rights development and environmental NGOs.” He says the role of the organization is to link groups so they can “work on joint issues,” and to show the links between human rights and sustainable development.
Jan van de Venis is President of Grrowd – a crowd-funding platform that raises money to help fund the efforts or “environmental defenders” and to publicize their work in order to help protect their lives. Currently, some of the cases that are featured on the site include a case involving Mexican organic farmers who are fighting against Monsanto, and in Africa a small group of people fighting to save one of the last strongholds of the rhinoceros against a coal-mining company.
Guardians for Future Generations
“I’m a lawyer and I actually have a whole lot of clients that do not exist yet. Who is calling out for them? Who is their lawyer, who is invoking their interests?” asks Jan van de Venis, calling on governments to install a “guardian” or “ombudsperson”— someone who would represent future generations and be the voice of long-term thinking. Guardians wouldn’t just be symbolic, they would be given a strong mandate within government—backed by constitutionally recognized rights to a healthy environment—to remind law-makers to consider the interests of those not yet born.