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26 Apr 2021

Indigenous Peoples Rights International (IPRI)

Indigenous rights group reports increased criminalisation of Indigenous people who defend their lands from corporate exploitation amid pandemic

'Defending Our Lands, Territories and Natural Resources amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: Annual Report', 26 April 2021

[T]his annual report is focused ... on the different dimensions of criminalization and impunity based on the country contexts and case stories of IPRI’s six focus countries: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, India and the Philippines... Weaponizing the law has been common at the time of the pandemic... By the middle of 2020, IPRI had already recorded 204 incidents of violence and attacks in 23 countries, including killings and criminalization against Indigenous Peoples... A number of cases of criminalization and killings of Indigenous Peoples indicate a trend of having links to the defense of their lands and resources against mining, agri-business and energy companies. Likewise, states utilize the military and paramilitary to “clear” areas of any resistance by indigenous communities to facilitate unhampered operations of companies provided with contracts by the government. Further, indigenous leaders and activists asserting their land rights and exposing violations of their FPIC to development projects are targeted for criminalization... Indigenous women human rights defenders are more likely to experience specific threats of rape and sexual harassment to silence them. These threats may include their family members and children, particularly their daughters...

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