This past May in New York City, Benki met with the distinguished human rights lawyer Steven Donziger. During their meeting, they had a robust exchange of ideas and stories about the paramount importance of safeguarding our planet, championing environmental justice, and protecting the human rights of local and indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest.
Steven Donziger’s unwavering dedication to the cause of climate justice is nothing short of an inspiration. For decades, he has been at the forefront of the struggle to compel corporations to answer for their destructive actions toward our planet. His lifelong commitment to this cause has earned him accolades and recognition worldwide. Steven Donziger’s monumental role in the historic trial against Chevron 20 years ago, brought by Amazon communities in Ecuador, is a testament to his relentless pursuit of justice. Over eight years, the affected communities and their legal team fought tirelessly to secure a $10 billion judgment against Chevron. This landmark decision was resoundingly affirmed by six appellate courts and 28 judges, including the entire Supreme Courts of Ecuador and Canada.
Despite this unequivocal legal victory, Chevron has evaded its responsibility, opting to launch a multi-billion dollar campaign against Steven and the affected communities instead. The human toll of this corporate misconduct is staggering: hundreds of Indigenous peoples have lost their lives to cancer, tens of thousands face severe health issues, and the threat of death looms over countless others. The devastation is unfolding in the heart of the Amazon, affecting communities and ecosystems vital to South America and the entire planet.
The meeting between Benki and Steven serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring us all to redouble our efforts to fight climate justice and protect our planet and its people.