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13 Sep 2023

Global Witness

Global: The deadliest countries for land and environmental HRDs in 2022 were Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Honduras and the Philippines

"Almost 2,000 land and environmental defenders killed between 2012 and 2022 for protecting the planet", 13 September 2023

...At least 177 land and environmental defenders were killed last year for trying to protect the planet – one person every other day - according to a new report by Global Witness released today, working in collaboration with our partners globally. The new figures bring the total number of defender killings up to 1,910 between 2012 and 2022.

...The new Global Witness report emphasizes the crucial role that defenders play in advocating for and achieving climate justice, yet highlights that at least 1,390 defenders were killed between the adoption of the historic climate Agreement on 12 December 2015 and 31 December 2022.

Colombia was found to be the deadliest country in the world with 60 deaths in total last year - more than a third of all killings globally. Despite Colombia ratifying a key legally binding regional agreement in October 2022 requiring the government to prevent and investigate attacks against defenders, this figure is almost double the number of killings reported in 2021. At least 382 defenders have been killed in Colombia since Global Witness began documenting deaths in 2012, making it the country with the highest number of reported killings globally during that time.

The majority of recorded killings in 2022 took place in Latin America, home to 88% of lethal attacks. Other deadly countries last year within the region include Brazil, with 34 killings, and Mexico with 31, and Honduras with 14. A total of 11 defenders were killed in the Philippines.

The research also found yet again that Indigenous communities around the world face a disproportionate level of lethal attacks, as victims of more than a third (34%) of global killings last year whilst making up only around 5% of the world’s population.

...[V]ery few perpetrators are ever brought to justice due to the failures of governments around the world to properly investigate these crimes, resulting in impunity fuelling further attacks... 

...[T]he Amazon is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a defender, with 39 killings last year...Overall, at least 296 defenders have been killed in the Amazon since 2014...

...[S]everal companies based in the UK, the EU and the US have been linked to human rights violations committed against these communities, with the gold illegally extracted from Kayapó lands found in the supply chains of Italian refiner Chimet and gold-mining company Serabi Gold...