Enemies of the State?
30 Jul 2019
As demand for products like timber, palm oil and minerals continues to grow, governments, companies and criminal gangs are routinely stealing land and trashing habitats in pursuit of profit. When the ordinary people who live on these lands take a stand, they come up against companies’ private security, state forces, contract killers, or in less violent confrontations, teams of aggressive lawyers... In 2018, Global Witness documented 164 killings of land and environmental defenders – ordinary people murdered for defending their homes, forests and rivers against destructive industries. Countless more were silenced through violent attacks, arrests, death threats or lawsuits... Mining was the deadliest sector, with 43 defenders killed protesting against the destructive effects of mineral extraction on people’s land, livelihoods and the environment... There was an escalation of killings of defenders struggling for the protection of water sources...The Philippines suffered the largest number of deaths in 2018, with 30 killed. 15 of these killings were linked to agribusiness... Under the current regime of President Rodrigo Duterte, the situation certainly isn’t improving. In 2017, his administration announced plans to allocate 1.6 million hectares of land to industrial plantations, most of it on the island of Mindanao. This region has also become a hotspot for murders... As in many parts of the world, indigenous people in the Philippines are disproportionately affected... [Refers to Dole Philippines, Energía y Renovación S.A , Itochu, JPMorgan Chase, Sterlite Industries, Transcanada].