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In last decade, an environment activist was killed after every two days, reveals study

Since 2012, 1,733 defenders have been killed trying to protect their land and resources. Of these, around 200 activists were killed in 2021 alone, reveals the report

RH Desk
October 1

More than 1,700 environmental activists “trying to protect their land and resources” have been killed over the past decade, a report released by global advocacy group Global Witness has revealed.

Around 200 activists were killed in 2021 alone with 54 of them in Mexico – the deadliest country for the activists. Most of these murders were linked to conflicts over mining, the report said.

“[Since 2012] 1,733 defenders have been killed trying to protect their land and resources: that’s an average of one defender killed approximately every two days over 10 years,” said the report.

While more than 75 per cent of the killings were reported in Latin America, the victims were overwhelmingly indigenous people, who account for just 5% of the world’s population.

According to the advocacy group, the situation is worse than what their documentation has established. “Our data on killings is likely to be an underestimate given that many murders go unreported, particularly in rural areas and in particular countries,” the report added.

Brazil tops the list with the highest number (342) of murders of environmental and land defenders since 2012. In Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela, 78% of attacks took place in the Amazon.

India also saw a rise in the number of lethal attacks on environmental activists with 14 incidents reported in 2021 against only four murders reported in 2020.

“Urgent actions are needed to hold companies and governments to account for the violence, criminalization and other attacks faced by land and environmental defenders, who are often standing on the frontline of the climate crisis,” the report recommended.

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