Front Line Defenders' global analysis finds 40% of defenders killed in 2019 were working on land, environmental & indigenous rights

Front Line Defenders’s (FLD) 2019 Global Analysis highlights the main trends facing human rights defenders at a global level, drawing on FLD's data coming from their protection grants programme. The report found that there were 304 killings of HRDs, working on a variety of issues, in 2019. FLD found that at least 40% of those were working on land, environmental and indigenous people's rights - several of these cases were related to mining, logging, construction and other business operations. 

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Eletronorte, which operates the Tucuruí mega-hydroelectric dam project, to respond to the killing of land rights defender Dilma Ferreira da Silva (a case included in the report). Eletronorte did not respond.

A past response from Feronia - another company mentioned in the report - is also linked below. 

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Company non-response
4 February 2020

Eletronorte did not respond

We invited Eletronorte, which operates the Tucuruí Hydroelectric Power Plant, to respond - it did not.

Article
3 February 2020

Front Line Defenders Global Analysis 2019

Global Analysis 2019 details the physical assaults, defamation campaigns, digital security threats, judicial harassment, and gendered attacks faced by HRDs and women human rights defenders (WHRDs) around the world. …HRDs are at the forefront of social change and face significant threats and risks for doing so – whether demanding civil and political freedoms or protecting the environment and combating climate change… In 2019, 304 HRDs in 31 countries were targeted and killed for their work … In addition to the physical attacks, restrictive legislation, intimidation and threats HRDs face, authorities have deployed various measures to attack HRDs and hinder their work online and in digital spaces. Internet shutdown, restricting access or blocking certain communication tools such as social media and instant messaging during protests, social upheavals or crises were commonplace in 2019. … The social media platform WhatsApp, popular for organising and communications, became a serious threat when it was weaponised against HRDs in a number of cases… Despite the difficult context in which HRDs worked in 2019, they remain at the forefront of generating positive social change…Front Line Defenders continues to work with HRDs to promote their security with a range of protection programming.

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Company response
6 November 2019

Feronia response

Author: Feronia

Feronia PHC operates in extremely challenging conditions but is making a huge difference to people’s lives in one of the world’s poorest places... We take our social and environmental responsibilities incredibly seriously... Feronia PHC has a policy of transparency and is pleased to engage with any party.... Feronia believes that the protection of civic freedoms and respect for the rule of law are both vitally important for civil society and business to thrive... While Feronia may not always agree with its critics, it respects their right to hold the company to account and we are committed to addressing and resolving areas where genuine grievances occur... Feronia also respects...the independence of the judiciary in the DRC and has no control or influence over its application, beyond the ability to lodge complaints... While the judicial process is ongoing, it would be potentially prejudicial to comment on specific arrests...However, we are aware that the police have increased activities in the remote locations in which the company operates in an attempt to tackle wide-scale, systematic and organised crime including theft, threats and physical violence, including against the company’s staff and assets...  It is believed that a number of those that have been arrested recently are accused of serious offences... Accusations that the company is responsible for, or orchestrating, the arrest and detention of people in collusion with state authorities, are untrue and misleading... 

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