Mexico: At least 83 land and environmental defenders killed between 2012 and 2019 and hundreds threatened, beaten and criminalised

Author: The Guardian (UK), Published on: 20 March 2020

“Mexico's deadly toll of environment and land defenders catalogued in report”, 20th March 2020

…At least 83 Mexican land and environment defenders were murdered between 2012 and 2019, while hundreds more were threatened, beaten and criminalized, according to a new report.

Latin America is the most dangerous continent in the world to defend environmental, land and human rights, with Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala ranking worst.

In Mexico, this targeted violence has taken hold in the context of widespread impunity and escalating generalized violence since the ill-fated war on drugs was launched in 2006…

The situation for defenders was exacerbated by energy reforms in 2013, since when scores of renewable energy mega-projects have been imposed on rural and indigenous communities without adequate consultation or compensation.

Almost one in three attacks since 2012 targeted defenders opposing energy projects, especially wind and hydroelectric power, according to the Mexican Centre for Environmental Rights…

“The data shows persistent structural violence against defenders of environmental rights in our country, which prevents them having the freedom and security to exercise their right to defend human rights,” said a spokesperson for Cemed, which tracks attacks against communities opposing projects threatening forests, water sources and land rights….

In 2019, state officials such as police officers, national guard and local prosecutors, were responsible for 40% of incidents registered by Cemed.

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