Citizens for Justice and Peace

Nearly four environmental defenders killed every week in 2017

05, Feb 2018 | CJP Team

The Guardian reported that the killing of those who defended their land or the environment “continued unabated in 2017,” with new data indicating that nearly four people were murdered every week across the world due to conflicts involving mining, plantations, poaching, and infrastructure projects. This figure has increased four times since the first time data was gathered in 2002, but has now plateaued. Most deaths took place in forested regions in developing countries, especially Latin America. Overall, 2017 saw 197 deaths of environmental defenders, according to data from Global Witness, an international NGO that says it works to expose the connection “between demand for natural resources, corruption, armed conflict and environmental destruction.” According to the Guardian, “extractive industries were one of the deadliest drivers of violence” last year, with 36 deaths tied to mining. In India, three family members were killed in May 2017 after they attempted to stop sand from being extracted from the riverbank near their village. The Guardian said agribusiness spurred the most violence in 2017, with increasing demand for commodities like beef and soy incentivising further encroachment of indigenous and community lands. Brazil had 46 deaths, Colombia had 32, Mexico had 15, and the Philippines had 41. Global Witness believes that many killings are unreported. Moreover, environmental defenders are also assaulted, harassed, intimidated and criminalised. The Guardian has collaborated with Global Witness to record the names of all defenders who died in 2017; they can be found here. 



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