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There has never been a more dangerous time to be an environmental activist. Consider the violence unleashed against the environmental defenders protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in the United States. My own experience highlights the dangers facing environmental crusaders.With the support of my community, I founded the Center for Justice, Governance and Environmental Action (CJGEA) to hold the state and corporations accountable for ensuring a clean and healthy environment.That is why the world needs an independent, internationally recognized legal body to which communities and activists can turn to address environmental crimes.Twenty years ago, the International Criminal Court was established to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity. A similar court should do the same for crimes against the environment and its defenders.Silencing the voices fighting to uphold environmental laws and regulations is self-defeating. Phyllis Omido, a Kenyan environmental activist and a winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize, is a 2017 Aspen New Voices fellow.
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