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20 Jun 2017

Paola Totaro & Matthew Ponsford, Thomson Reuters Foundation

"As global race for resources gathers pace, are the documented killings of HRDs just the tip of the iceberg?"

Each week, at least four men and women vanish without trace or are found dead, cut down in a hail of gunfire....Mysterious disappearances, political murders, the killing of women, gangland hits: thousands of cases, seemingly unrelated, are reported every year from all corners of the globe. The number of dead is soaring. And political scholars and activists believe they are connected. They say people are dying protecting their land and homes from global industry's relentless push to develop the natural resources beneath their feet....  According to global watchdogs, resource-rich Honduras and Nicaragua are the world’s deadliest countries for land deaths per capita, while Brazil tops the list in sheer numbers... Subhabrata 'Bobby' Banerjee, professor of management at the University of London's Cass Business School...says academic colleagues have built the Environmental Justice Atlas, a global database of conflicts over natural resources and development, which shows numbers growing ever higher. "Right now there are more than 2,000 reported hot spots around the world," ..."The reality is that there are probably three times that number which are not reported because they are not sexy and don't make TV news."