According to research that highlights the usual destruction of activists who oppose the extractive industry, which is causing the climate crisis, and the destruction of nature, a record number of people were killed last year.
Every week in 2019. More than four defenders were killed. Based on the annual number of deaths by an independent guardian, there is growing evidence of opportunistic killings during the closure of Covid-19, when activists were left as “sitting ducks.” house.
Colombia and the Philippines accounted for half of the 212 people killed last year, an increase of almost 30% from 164 deaths in 2018. And 11 more than the previous record in 2017. Most of the killings went unpunished, and the actual number of deaths is likely to be much higher as many remain undocumented.
According to the report, the mining industry was linked to the largest number of deaths by land and environmentalists in 2019, followed by agriculture, logging and criminal gangs. Local communities around the world continue to face a disproportionate risk of violence, accounting for 40% of defenders killed last year.
Together with 2019. Numerous campaigners have expressed concern that the slow or deliberate failure of governments and corporations to protect vulnerable communities from Covid-19 has increased the infection rate and raised fears of opportunistic attacks on defenders.
In March, Colombian local leaders Omar and Ernesto Guasiruma were assassinated and divorced at home after a meeting with a local mayor who tested positive for Covid-19. Two of the victims’ relatives were seriously injured in the attack.
In Brazil, where in 2019. 24 people have been killed and indigenous communities have warned that they will face “extinction” during the pandemic. Leaders have accused far-right president Jair Bolsonaro of “using” Covid-19 to remove the natives.
In Colombia, where the number of deaths more than doubled from last year to 64, the total number of witnesses recorded in one country, there has been a dramatic increase in the killings of community and social leaders.
Changes in local power dynamics after 2016 The peace agreement between the Colombian government and Farc was mentioned as an engine of increasing violence, especially in rural areas where criminal groups are relocating to former partisan-held regions.
As many paramilitary and criminal groups are still investing heavily in drug trafficking, NGOs have recorded 14 deaths in Colombia in connection with a crop replacement program that offers cocoa growers scholarships to switch to alternatives such as cocoa and coffee in 2019.
“Agribusiness and oil, gas and mining have been the main drivers of attacks on land and environmentalists. They are also industries that continue to push us into the running climate change due to deforestation and increasing carbon emissions, ”said Rachel Cox, a campaign witness from the Global Witness.
“Many of the world’s worst environmental and human rights abuses are caused by the exploitation of natural resources and corruption in the global political and economic system. Defenders of the earth and the environment are the people who oppose it.
“If we really want to create ecological recovery plans that put human safety, health and well-being at the forefront, we need to address the root causes of defenders’ attacks and follow suit to protect the environment and halt climate loss. “
The massacre continued to grow in the Philippines, which in 2018. It was the deadliest country for people defending their land and environment, with 48 deaths recorded last year.
Among them is local leader Datu Kaylo Bontolano, who was assassinated in 2019. April 7 During the military air bombing in northern Mindanao, the point is President Rodrigo Duterte’s plans to turn huge areas of land into industrial plantations.
The Manobo leader opposed deforestation and mining in the hearts of his ancestors and returned to the mountainous region to document violence against his community.
Although Europe remained the least affected continent, in 2019 In Romania, two rangers were killed in an effort to stop illegal logging in some of the continent’s most earthly forests, including 19 state and park officials killed around the world.
2019 More than two-thirds of the homicides investigated occurred in Latin America, 33 of them in the Amazon region alone. Deaths rose from four in 2018. Until 14 2019 In Honduras, the Central American country is therefore one of the most dangerous countries in the world in terms of one defender of the earth and the environment, the report said.
The NGO said that due to limited surveillance capabilities in Africa, deaths that were thought to be under-reported were in 2019. Seven verified massacres of environmental activists were carried out.
According to Global Witness, every week since 2015. December. Four defenders are killed in the signed Paris Agreement. Even more of them fell silent due to the threat of assault, intimidation and sexual violence.