19, Jan 2018 | CJP Team
The Thomson Reuters Foundation reported that, according to a United Nations expert, Latin American countries are violating indigenous peoples’ rights and increasingly imprisoning activists in order to reduce opposition to corporations “taking over ancestral lands”. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview that activists working to shield their lands from projects like dams and mining were being targeted, saying, “Criminalisation is really about using the justice system to stop indigenous peoples from pursing their own activities and their own actions against projects that are destructive to them”. According to her, criminal charges against activists include trespassing and terrorism. Tauli-Corpuz said this year she would focus on ensuring indigenous activists who are at risk are protected. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, governments and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) can take precautionary steps to protect activists who are considered under threat. However, Tauli-Corpuz said that in spite of these steps, activists are killed. Those who suffer the most violence in Latin America are environmentalists and indigenous land defenders, especially those in Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico.