Murders of environmental and land activists on the rise globally
By Linda Bordoni
54 land and environment activists were killed in Mexico in 2021, that‘s over 20 more deaths of land and nature defenders than the previous year.
This is according to the annual report by the nongovernmental organization Global Witness that found that more than three-quarters of the killings took place in Latin America, where Colombia, Brazil and Nicaragua also proved deadly for land and nature defenders.
The report said that "Most of these crimes happen in places that are far away from power and are inflicted on those with the least amount of power.''
Global Witness also said its data on killings is likely to be an underestimate, given that many murders go unreported, particularly in rural areas and in particular countries.
These are all victims who 'died fighting resource exploitation and in land disputes. Conflicts over mining were tied to 27 deaths worldwide, the most for any sector.
After Mexico, the most dangerous countries include Colombia, Brazil, Nicaragua, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Philippines.
The Global Witness report details names, places and evidence of torture in many cases. It also calls on governments to enforce laws that protect activists and require informed consent from Indigenous groups.
Most important, it requires companies to be accountable throughout their global operations and have zero tolerance for attacks on land defenders. `
Concluding, Global Witness CEO Mike Davis said `Activists and communities play a crucial role as a first line of defense against environmental and ecological collapse, as well as being frontrunners in the campaign to prevent it,' a view shared by Pope Francis and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development that has just reiterated its call to involve local communities and indigenous peoples to best respond to the global environmental crisis.
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