By Burak Bir
ANKARA (AA) – Suspension and cancellation of many conservative activities and events due to the coronavirus outbreak should not allow the destruction of the environment, according to the conservation law center.
"We cannot let COVID-19 provide cover for environmental destruction, profiteering, and continued human rights abuses," Carroll Muffett, the head of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), said in a statement on late Wednesday.
Like many economic, sports and cultural events, climate demonstrations have been affected by the outbreak but have not stopped all demonstrations and work towards protection of the environment.
Groups such as Extinction Rebellions, Fridays for Future and 350 urged protesters to prevent mass gatherings and continue with digital activism such as "climate strike online" and "Talks for Future".
CIEL made commitments — like many others — to continue its work, although the group's offices have been closed over the pandemic.
"During this period, CIEL is committed to continuing our work to protect the environment and to promote human rights," Muffett said.
The group vowed to continue to "hold corporations and governments accountable", "protecting human rights", "looking to the future" and "elevating voices of already marginalized communities" during this critical period.
"The world is changing at incredible speed, but we will face these uncertainties together and work alongside all of you to ensure we emerge from this crisis into a world that is safer, stronger, more sustainable, and more just," he added.
According to its website, since 1989, CIEL has used the power of law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the infection has spread to at least 175 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.
The number of confirmed cases worldwide has surpassed 474,200 while the death toll is over 21,300 and almost 115,000 have recovered, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
Despite the rising number of cases, most who become infected suffer only mild symptoms and recover.