Report Shows Increased Killings of Environmental Activists, with Indigenous Communities Hardest hit
Report Shows Increased Killings of Environmental Activists, with Indigenous Communities Hardest hit
By Global Witness / intercontinentalcry.org
Apr 29, 2015

Killings of land and environmental activists in 2014 reached an average of more than two a week, a new Global Witness report reveals – an increase of 20% from 2013. How Many More? documents 116 known deaths worldwide last year – almost double the number of journalists killed in the same period.(1) Severe limits on information means the actual figures are undoubtedly higher.

Nearly three-quarters of killings occurred in Central and South America, with South East Asia second worst-hit. Honduras was the most dangerous country per capita to be an environmental and land activist. Worldwide, a shocking 40 % of victims were indigenous, with hydropower, mining and agri-business the key drivers of deaths.

How Many More? analyses trends in violence and intimidation in countries where the systematic targeting of land and environmental defenders is being accompanied by moves to criminalize protest, restrict freedoms, and dilute laws on environmental protection. In a disturbing trend, some governments have used counter-terrorism legislation to target activists, portraying them as enemies of the state.

You can download the report How Many More? in its entirety at GlobalWitness.org

Global Witness is calling on governments and the international community to monitor, investigate and punish these crimes, and for Honduras to address abuses in the upcoming review of its human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council.

“In Honduras and across the world environmental defenders are being shot dead in broad daylight, kidnapped, threatened, or tried as terrorists for standing in the way of so-called ‘development’,” said Billy Kyte, campaigner at Global Witness. “The true authors of these crimes – a powerful nexus of corporate and state interests – are escaping unpunished. Urgent action is needed to protect citizens and bring perpetrators to justice.”

Honduras suffered 111 killings between 2002 and 2014. The case of indigenous activist Berta Cáceres – winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize (2) - is emblematic of the systematic targeting of defenders in Honduras.

“They follow me. They threaten to kill me, to kidnap me, they threaten my family. That is what we face,” said Cáceres. Since 2013, three of her colleagues have been killed for resisting the Agua Zarca hydro-dam on the Gualcarque River, which threatens to cut off a vital water source for hundreds of indigenous Lenca people.

The key findings of How Many More? include:

  • At least 116 environmental and land defenders were killed in 2014 – most in Brazil (29), followed by Colombia (25), the Philippines (15) and Honduras (12).
  • 47 of the victims were members of indigenous groups, accounting for 40 % of the total.
  • 2014 saw a spike in murders relating to hydropower projects. Disputes over land formed the backdrop to most killings.
  • There is very little publicly available information to confirm suspected perpetrators, but in cases that are well documented we found 10 were related to paramilitary groups, 8 to the police, 5 to private security guards and 3 to the military.

This hidden crisis is escaping public attention, both because it is not being adequately monitored and because many defenders live in remote, poor communities with limited access to communications and the media. Scant data on killings in much of Africa and areas like China, Central Asia and the Middle East may be linked to poor civil society monitoring, and the suppression of media and other information outlets.

As the world turns its attention to the most significant climate talks in years - the 2015 UN climate conference in Paris, aimed at reaching a global deal on carbon emissions - How Many More? highlights a grave paradox in the climate negotiations. The people on the frontline of the battle to protect our environment are being murdered.

“Environmental defenders are fighting to protect our climate against ever-increasing odds,” said Billy Kyte. “Now more than ever we need to start holding governments and companies to account for the rising death toll on our environmental frontiers. The secrecy around how natural resource deals are made fuels violence and must end. It’s time for the international community to stand up and take notice.”

 

For interviews, briefings in English and Spanish and other information please contact:
Billy Kyte (San Francisco) +44 (0)7703 671308 bkyte@globalwitness.org
Alice Harrison (London) +44 (0)7841 338792, aharrison@globalwitness.org
Chris Moye (London) +44 (0) 7525 592737, cmoye@globalwitness.org

3.5 ·
1
Trending Today
Obama's Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Stansfield Smith · 9,683 views today · It should be a scandal that leftists-liberals paint Trump as a special threat, a war mongerer – not Obama who is the first president to be at war everyday of his eight years...
Baraka (1992)
97 min · 9,299 views today · Featuring no conventional narrative, this film presents footage of people, places and things from around the world. From chaotic cities to barren wilderness, the movie takes...
Deconstructing Hierarchies: On Contrived Leadership and Arbitrary Positions of Power
Colin Jenkins · 6,243 views today · Bosses don't grow on trees. They don't magically appear at your job. They aren't born into their roles. They are created. They are manufactured to fulfill arbitrary positions...
Make The Serengeti Great Again | Resource Scarcity, Demagogues and How Creativity Can Trump Hate (2017)
5 min · 5,072 views today · A Familiar Tale of Resource Scarcity, Demagogues, and How Creativity Can Trump Hate A quick, original, illustrated allegory that pokes at the demagogues we’ve got with an...
Why I Think This World Should End
4 min · 3,941 views today · Sorry if this offends you. - Prince Ea
The Myth of Romantic Love May Be Ruining Your Health
Susanne Vosmer · 3,233 views today · Romantic love in Western societies is often portrayed in a stereotypical way: two yearning halves, who search for each other to find their complete, original state. Few find...
Prophecy Delivered! Martin Luther King Jr. and the Death of Democracy
Reverend Osagyefo Sekou · 2,739 views today · “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Democracy is dead. It...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 2,721 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Trump: The Illusion of Change
Helena Norberg-Hodge · 2,268 views today · “Only by restoring the broken connections can we be healed.” — Wendell Berry
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 1,692 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Union Co-Operatives: What They Are and Why We Need Them
Simon Taylor · 1,544 views today · Neoliberal policies contribute to alienation, disempowerment and non-unionised jobs, but a new model for unions could break the vicious circle, argues Simon Taylor.
Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss: Bracing for Trump's Anti-Worker, Corporate Agenda
Colin Jenkins · 1,488 views today · Rich people don’t have to have a life-and-death relationship with the truth and its questions; they can ignore the truth and still thrive materially. I am not surprised many...
What Is a Gift Economy? - Alex Gendler
4 min · 1,401 views today · What if, this holiday season, instead of saying "thank you" to your aunt for her gift of a knitted sweater, the polite response expected from you was to show up at her house in...
Something Better to Offer Trump Voters Tired of Waiting for Their Turn
David Korten · 1,192 views today · A world free of extremes of wealth and poverty in which no one needs to stand in line for a chance at a secure and fulfilling life.
Thoughts on the Eve of the Trump Regime
Mark Corske · 1,002 views today · A blend of dread, disgust, rage, and despair for the future, all in a state of shocked disbelief—if you feel something like this facing the Trump regime’s ascent to power...
Trump Is a Symptom of a Sickness That Is Raging All Across The World
1 min · 940 views today · This is why we are here. And this is what we need to remember. 
Living Through an Age of Unraveling: Reflections as We Enter 2017
Martin Winiecki · 638 views today · “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.” ― R. Buckminster Fuller
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 603 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 478 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More
Josh Jones · 436 views today · Why must we all work long hours to earn the right to live? Why must only the wealthy have a access to leisure, aesthetic pleasure, self-actualization…? Everyone seems to have...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Report Shows Increased Killings of Environmental Activists, with Indigenous Communities Hardest hit