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Global Witness denounces killings of defenders of land or environment in 2017, notes slight improvement by cos.
Author: Global Witness (UK), Published on: 2 February 2018
"Almost four environmental defenders a week killed in 2017", 2 Feb 2018
The slaughter of people defending their land or environment continued unabated in 2017, with new research showing almost four people a week were killed worldwide in struggles against mines, plantations, poachers and infrastructure projects...The toll of 197 in 2017 – which has risen fourfold since it was first compiled in 2002 – underscores the violence on the frontiers of a global economy driven by expansion and consumption. “The situation remains critical. Until communities are genuinely included in decisions around the use of their land and natural resources, those who speak out will continue to face harassment, imprisonment and the threat of murder,” said Ben Leather [of] Global Witness...[There is a] renewed push for multinational companies to take more responsibility and for governments to tackle impunity. Extractive industries were one of the deadliest drivers of violence...Global Witness believes many more murders go unreported. Defenders are also being beaten, criminalised, threatened or harassed...Some...are willing to listen. Following criticism for having backed the Honduran hydro project linked to the murder of activist Berta Cáceres, the Dutch Development Bank (FMO) has broken ground by declaring the safety of human rights defenders to be a key factor in future investment decisions.