Party for the Animals proposal to crimi­nalise ecocide inspires worldwide

10 juni 2021

Late last year, the Dutch Party for the Animals submitted an elaborate proposal to criminalise ecocide. This proposal, containing case studies from around the world and a 10-step plan with concrete measures, is now also available in English, French, and Arabic. The Dutch Party for the Animals is part of an international political movement that prioritises the protection of the planet and all of its inhabitants. By sharing knowledge and making translations available, the party contributes to a growing worldwide political movement for animal rights and human rights, the protection of nature and the environment, and sustainable trade.

The Party for the Animals calls on governments to join forces with the global movement for criminalising ecocide, which is when human activity damages and destroys ecosystems on a large scale. MP Lammert van Raan from the Dutch Party for the Animals therefore submitted a proposal to criminalise irreversible damage to natural habitats on both a national as well as an international level. If these practices occur, the International Criminal Court in The Hague would be able to prosecute government leaders and CEO’s of companies under criminal law if they commit ecocide. Thanks to the new translations, van Raan’s proposal is now widely available internationally.

Van Raan: “By sharing the work we do internationally, we make it easier for initiators in other countries to challenge ecocide. More than ever, the awareness is growing that we are headed straight for disaster if we do not alter course quickly. If it becomes possible to prosecute ministers and CEO’s for irreversibly damaging our living environment, that would keep them from carrying out activities that can damage ecosystems.” The Dutch Party for the Animals has long been involved in the struggle to get ecocide recognised as a crime against peace, inspired by lawyer Polly Higgins, who coined the term ecocide and founded the organisation Stop Ecocide.

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TEDx-talk by lawyer Polly Higgins about ‘Ecocide, the fifth crime against peace’ (TEDxExeter).

Van Raan’s proposal follows a recent breakthrough in the European Parliament, which adopted proposals to criminalise ecocide on an international level two weeks ago. Thanks in part to the efforts of the European representation of the Dutch Party for the Animals, the Committee on the Environment of the European Parliament wishes to mark ecocide – including the dumping of toxic waste, emitting greenhouse gasses and deforestation – as an international crime against humanity.

The translations of the proposal were made available by the Animal Politics Foundation, the international foundation created by the Dutch Party for the Animals to strengthen the international political movement for animals, nature, the climate, and a habitable planet by exchanging knowledge, workshops, and maintaining networks. Thanks in part to these activities, the Party for the Animals now has twenty sister parties around the world, counting more than 150 representatives on both national as well as regional and local levels.