Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release


Carly Lettero, Spring Creek Project, Oregon State University,, Maura Stephens, Coalition to Protect New York,; 607-351-3766

Press Release

International Tribunal Underway on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change

Cornell emeritus professor Anthony Ingraffea, ecologist/author Sandra Steingraber and local grassroots activists are among the contributors to this week’s proceedings.

The historic Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Session on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change began on Monday, May 14 and runs through Friday, May 18, live-streaming and archived online.

For the first time in its nearly 40-year history, this session of the PPT has an international focus and includes arguments about the rights of Nature in addition to the rights of people. Among those participating from our region are Cornell University fracking engineer and professor emeritus Anthony Ingraffea, Ithaca College scholar in residence, ecologist, and author Sandra Steingraber, and the grassroots Coalition to Protect New York (CPNY), represented by independent journalist and activist Maura Stephens.

The PPT is a highly respected international forum that grew from the Russell-Sartre Tribunal to investigate whether breaches of human rights norms occurred during the Vietnam War. It subsequently conducted hearings to determine whether human rights standards were abridged in Bhopal, Chernobyl, and other sites. Its most recent session was on Myanmar’s (Burma’s) crimes against Rohingya and Kachin peoples.

The current session focuses on the potential human rights violations of fracking and climate change. The judges will also be asked to consider the rights of Nature — because the protection of a healthy environment may be a fundamental prerequisite for the protection of human rights.

Amicus briefs were submitted by attorneys and others representing nongovernmental organizations, including CPNY, on whose behalf cofounder Stephens​ will present evidence and arguments orally on Friday, May 18 at noon EDT.

Cornell’s Anthony Ingraffea gave one of the critical Bedrock Lectures on Human Rights and Climate Change leading up to the weeklong tribunal, and Steingraber gave the keynote speech on Monday evening.

Earth jurisprudence attorneys from Scotland and Australia presented witness testimony and oral and written arguments addressing the session’s central questions from a Nature-rights perspective, and a team of human rights attorneys offered witness testimony and reports from preliminary tribunals held in areas where fracking is used in oil and gas extraction.  

Judges will likely spend several months reviewing the evidence and deliberating before issuing their opinion.

Attorneys, witnesses and judges convene via Zoom web conferencing software daily. The proceedings are being streamed on the Spring Creek Project Facebook page and archived within 30 minutes for viewing. A full schedule of daily Tribunal proceedings is posted on the Spring Creek Project website and on

'Enough is Enough': Hundreds of Thousands March Across the UK

'As wages fall while profits soar, our message is clear... We are here to win.'

Common Dreams staff ·

California Gov. Newsom Proposes Windfall Profits Tax on Big Oil

Calls for windfall profits taxes have increased globally in recent weeks

Common Dreams staff ·

'Incredible': Omar and Khanna Staffers Join Levin's Office in Unionizing

"It is long past time the United States Congress became a unionized workplace, and that includes my own staff," said Rep. Ilhan Omar. "I am proud of all the people on my team who have played a leading role in the staff unionization effort. Solidarity forever."

Jessica Corbett ·

Destructive Hurricanes Fuel Calls for Biden to Declare Climate Emergency

"Mother Nature is not waiting for the president or Congress to declare a climate emergency. She's showing us in real-time here in the United States—with wildfires, floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, and drought."

Jessica Corbett ·

Spain Approves 'Solidarity' Tax to Make Nation's Top 0.1% Pay a Fairer Share

The country's finance minister said that looming changes are bound to make the tax code "more progressive, efficient, fair, and also enough to guarantee social justice and economic efficiency."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo