Global Witness reports record number of environmental activists were murdered in 2020

Global Witness reports 227 land and environmental activists were murdered in a single year, the worst figure on record.

Almost a third of the murders were reportedly linked to logging, mining, large-scale agribusiness, hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure. The report labelled the victims “environmental defenders” killed for protecting natural resources that need to be preserved, including forests, water supplies and oceans.

Colombia is the world’s most dangerous country for environmental defenders, the report highlighted. Colombia topped the list with 65 deaths, continuing a murderous trend since the 2016 peace accord that eased conflict between the government and Farc rebels, but opened up swathes of the country to extractive industries and greater tension over resources, followed by Mexico, Philippines, Brazil and Nicaragua.

The annual tally of the dead has risen for the past two years and is now twice the level of 2013. This is still thought to be an underestimate because the calculation depends on transparency, press freedom and civil rights, which vary considerably from country to country.

A senior campaigner for Global Witness, Chris Madden, called on governments to “get serious about protecting defenders.” He said companies must start “putting people and planet before profit’ or he warned that “both climate breakdown and the killings” would continue.




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Jennifer is a CEO, executive producer, host of "Politics in skirts," and a former correspondent for Fox News. She is a lawyer, journalist, and TV and radio host.

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