Front Line Defenders report highlights killings of 312 human rights defenders in 2017, underlining the role of business

Author: Front Line Defenders (Ireland), Published on: 5 January 2018

"Annual Report on Human Rights Defenders at Risk 2017", 3 Jan 2018

In 2017, Front Line Defenders received reports on the murder of 312 defenders in 27 countries...An analysis [shows]: 67% were engaged in the defence of land, environmental and indigenous peoples’ rights the context of mega projects, extractive industry and big business. In each region of the world, criminalisation remained the most common way in which governments targeted HRDs to stop their work and delegitimise them in the eyes of their communities...For the most part, international investors and parent companies, whose funding and support initiated and enabled such projects, still do not regard local community leaders and HRDs as key actors to consult when planning projects...Defenders pushing for a rights-based approach to the exploitation of natural resources also found themselves at risk.... [I]n from Guatemala, land rights defender Abelino Chub Caal was charged with 'aggravated land grabbing', 'arson', 'coercion', 'illicit association' and ‘belonging to illicit armed groups' following his work in defence of...environmental and cultural rights [that] are threatened by mining interests...[T]he vast majority of defenders killed in Asia were those protecting community and/or indigenous peoples’ rights in the face of agribusiness and extractive industry.

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