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Global Witness report details continued rise in lethal attacks against land & environmental defenders on the frontline of the climate crisis

  • 212 murdered land and environmental defenders recorded in 2019, making it deadliest year on record for people defending against climate-destructive industries
  • Agribusiness and oil, gas and mining found to be the biggest industrial drivers of conflict against defenders
  • Over half of all reported killings occurred in two countries: Colombia and the Philippines. 
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29 July 2020

Defending Tomorrow: The climate crisis and threats against land and environmental defenders

Author: Global Witness

…Communities across the world are standing up to carbon-intensive industries and exposing unsustainable business practices wreaking havoc on ecosystems and our climate… This report is based on research into the killings and enforced disappearances of land and environmental defenders between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019. It also shows the broader range of non-lethal threats and criminalisation that they face. The documented number of lethal attacks against these defenders continues to rise… Mining was still the most culpable industry – connected with the murders of 50 defenders in 2019. Communities opposing carbon intensive oil, gas and coal projects faced continued threats. Attacks, murders and massacres were used to clear the path for commodities like palm oil and sugar. In 2019, Global Witness documented 34 killings linked to large-scale agriculture… Asia has consistently been the worst region for agribusiness-related attacks …Logging was the sector with the highest increase in killings globally since 2018, with 85% more attacks recorded against defenders opposing the industry… Indigenous peoples are at a disproportionate risk of reprisals. Last year, 40% of murdered defenders belonged to indigenous communities. Between 2015 and 2019 over a third of all fatal attacks have targeted indigenous people… [Refers to Del Monte, Dole & FMO].

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29 July 2020

Every week, an average of four of environmental & land defenders are killed for opposing destruction by industry, Global Witness report says

Author: Amanda Schupak, Huffpost

"Grim Report Shows How Many Environmental Activists Were Killed Last Year", 28 Jul 2020

The year 2019 was the most dangerous on record for environmental activists, a new report says. Every day around the world, people stand up to companies exploiting land for profit, felling trees, damming and polluting waterways, displacing ancestral homes and destroying wildlife habitats. Every week, an average of four of these defenders are killed.  The Global Witness… report… counted 212 people killed last year for their efforts to protect the Earth from the destructive effects of development for oil and gas, mineral extraction, agriculture, logging…  “Our figures are almost certainly an underestimate,” the authors write… The violence is especially high against Indigenous people, who accounted for 40% of land defenders killed… though they make up only about 5% of the world’s population… Violence… is greatest in Central and South America… The Global Witness report counted… 33 people killed defending the Amazon, a vital but threatened repository for atmospheric carbon. Escalating deforestation from logging, mining, fires, and agriculture — actions… encouraged by Brazil’s… Jair Bolsonaro — threaten the forest, indigenous people… and the… climate… The struggles of the Indigenous communities against destructive development is an existential issue, said María Martín Quintana, advocacy coordinator for…IM-Defensoras, impacting “their ways of life and the survival of life in their territories.” Violence is also “classist, racist and misogynist,” she added…

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