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5 Oct 2022

10 years of killings: Global Witness new report shows dire state of land & environmental defenders across the globe

The human rights organisation Global Witness released a new report on killings of land and environmental defenders across the globe, showing the dangers faced by those protecting their homes, their rights, and our shared planet. The report includes an annual analysis for killings occurred in 2021, and a 10-year analysis starting from 2012, covering lethal attacks from all regions of the world.

1733 defenders were killed between 2012 and 2020; 200 defenders were killed in 2021 alone. These lethal attacks continue to take place in the context of a wider range of threats against defenders who are being targeted by government, business and other non-state actors with violence, intimidation, smear campaigns and criminalisation. This is happening across every region of the world and in almost every sector:

  • Over three-quarters of the killings recorded took place in Latin America;
  • Deadliest countries were Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and the Philippines;
  • Over a quarter of the killings were linked to mining, logging, large-scale agribusiness, hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure. 

According to Global Witness, corporations and business actors operate in contexts of impunity and, sometimes, corruption, and guidelines for business to prevent harms remain voluntary for the most part. For this reason, violations of environmental and human rights continue to abound and the price for fighting back can be fatal.