A record number of people were murdered last year to protect their land and environment, which according to research highlights the regular killing of activists who oppose extractive industries that run the climate crisis and the destruction of nature.
More than four defenders were murdered every week in 2019, according to an annual toll compiled by the Independent Sentinel Global Witness, amid mounting evidence of opportunistic killings during the Kovid-19 lockdown, in which activists were “seated among themselves ” was abandoned. Houses.
Colombia and the Philippines accounted for half of the 212 people killed last year, an increase of nearly 30% from 164 deaths in 2018 and 11 more than the previous record in 2017. Most of the murders went waste and the exact number of deaths is likely to be much higher as many go unspecified.
According to the report, the mining industry was linked to the most land and environmental protector deaths in 2019 by agriculture, logging and criminal gangs. Indigenous communities around the world are facing unsafe risks of violence, protecting 40% of murderers last year.
With the 2019 data, campaigners expressed concern that the slow or deliberate inaction of governments and corporations to protect vulnerable communities from Kovid-19 has led to high infection rates, raising fears of opportunistic attacks on defenders.
In March, Colombian indigenous leaders Omar and Ernesto Guasiruma were killed while being isolated at home after meeting with the local mayor, who tested positive for Kovid-19. Two relatives of the victims were seriously injured in the attack.
In Brazil, where 24 people were killed in 2019, indigenous communities are “facing extinction” in an epidemic with leaders accusing Kovid-19 of “taking advantage of the right” to exterminate indigenous peoples. Has given
In Colombia, where the number of deaths has more than doubled to 64 in the past year, the most global witnesses have been recorded in a country, with the killings of community and social leaders dramatically increasing.
The change in local power dynamics following the 2016 peace deal between the Colombian government and Fars has been cited as a driver of increased violence, particularly in rural areas, where criminal gangs discredit themselves in formerly raided-held areas are doing.
With many paramilitary and criminal groups still heavily invested in the drugs trade, the NGO linked 14 deaths in Colombia to a crop replacement program that offered coca farmers the switch to alternatives such as cocoa and coffee in 2019.
Rachel Cox, a campaigner Rachel Cox said, “Agriculture and oil, gas and mining have consistently been the biggest drivers of attacks against land and environmental defenders – and they are also the industries that are leading us into climate change of forests . ” Global witness.
“Exploitation of natural resources and corruption in the global political and economic system leads to many of the world’s worst environmental and human rights violations. The protectors of land and environment are people who take a stand against it.
“If we really want to plan for a green recovery that protects people’s health, health and well-being in their hearts, then we must deal with the root causes of attacks on defenders, and protect the environment and the climate. One must follow his lead to prevent the breakdown. “
The killings continued in the Philippines, the world’s deadliest country for people protecting their land and the environment in 2018, with 48 deaths reported last year.
These include indigenous leader Dattu Kylo Bontolan, who was killed during a military aerial bombardment in northern Mindanao on 7 April 2019, which is at the center of President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to convert vast areas of land into industrial plantations.
The Manobo leader had opposed commercial entry and mining in his ancestral areas and returned to the mountainous region to document violence against his community.
While Europe remained the least affected continent, two rangers died in Romania in 2019 while working to prevent illegal entry into some of the continent’s pristine forests, with 19 state and park officials worldwide Were killed
More than two-thirds of verified murders occurred in Latin America in 2019, including 33 in the Amazon region alone. According to the report, the number of deaths in Honduras increased from four in 2018 to 14 million in 2019, making the Central American country the most dangerous country in the world for per capita land and environmental defenders.
The NGO said that limited monitoring capabilities in Africa were meant to account for seven verified killings of environmental activists across the continent in 2019.
According to Global Witness, four defendants have been murdered every week since the Paris Agreement was signed in December 2015, with many more silenced by threats of assault, intimidation and sexual violence.