Environmental Activists Are Being Killed At An Alarming Rate

Environmental Activists Are Being Killed At An Alarming Rate
Berta Caceres, a Lenca indigenous activist who won the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize for her role in fighting a dam project, had previously complained of receiving death threats from police, soldiers and local landowners because of her work.

In an exclusive report published earlier this month, the Guardian highlighted a disheartening and highly disturbing reality, one that reveals itself quite profoundly in the article’s opening paragraph:

“Last year was the most perilous ever for people defending their community’s land, natural resources or wildlife, with new research showing that environmental defenders are being killed at the rate of almost four a week across the world.”

The Guardian worked with watchdog group Global Witness, an organization whose aim — according to its mission statement — is to expose “the hidden links between demand for natural resources, corruption, armed conflict and environmental destruction.”

According to Global Witness’ data, 200 environmental activists, indigenous leaders, and wildlife rangers were violently killed in 2016, the highest number ever recorded.

But that record is set to be broken if the current trend continues, as 98 people were killed in the first five months of 2017.

Billy Kyte of Global Witness says the incidents are not isolated, but rather “symptomatic of a systematic assault on remote and indigenous communities by state and corporate actors” and indicative of an atmosphere of intimidation:

“Communities that take a stand against environmental destruction are now in the firing line of companies’ private security guards, state forces and contract killers. For every land and environmental defender who is killed, many more are threatened with death, eviction and destruction of their resources.”

What’s worse, says John Knox, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, is that no one is being held accountable. Speaking to the Guardian, Knox said a “culture of impunity” has arisen, largely due to the fact that the people being victimized are usually far removed from political and judicial spheres:

“There is an epidemic now, a culture of impunity, a sense that anyone can kill environmental defenders without repercussions, eliminate anyone who stands in the way. It [comes from] mining, agribusiness, illegal logging and dam building.”

The data shows that the deadliest industry to go up against in 2016 was mining, which accounted for 33 deaths. The logging and agribusiness sectors were tied for second with 23 killings apiece.

The hydroelectric industry was responsible for the deaths of seven environmental defenders last year, and poachers claimed the lives of 18.

The most startling trend Global Witness researchers found, however, is that agribusiness is set to rival or even surpass mining as the deadliest industry in 2017. In the first five months of 2017, agribusiness had already killed 22 people — one short of its total for all of 2016.

As it did in 2015, Latin America proved to be the most dangerous region in the world for those looking to defend the environment, accounting for 60 of last year’s 200 deaths.

In terms of countries, South America’s Brazil is once again the deadliest nation for defenders. Forty-nine killings occurred in the country, mostly in the Amazon Rainforest.

Cutting straight to the heart of this “culture of impunity” that the U.N.’s John Knox spoke of, environmental defenders often say their governments are unresponsive to their requests for aid and that the governments themselves have been corrupted into complicity.

In The Ecologist last month, American writer Olesia Plokhii — who bore witness to the murder of Cambodian illegal logging activist Chut Wutty in 2012 — explained that even well-connected defenders don’t get a pass when it comes to the forward march of industry:

“Wutty ran his own environmental organisation, had Western financial backers, the support of high-ranking Cambodian military officials, hundreds of local supporters who watched out for him and tools — multiple cell phones, a GPS tracker. He was still murdered.

“Much less organised and prepared defenders, people who might be forced unexpectedly into protecting their lands due to evictions or enormous infrastructure developments, are up against the same violence.”

Global Witness’ 2016 report also noted that a global clampdown on environmental protest — even in wealthy nations — is also gaining strength. As evidence, the group cited the campaign at Standing Rock, where environmental protesters tried and failed to prevent the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

China Is Turning The Rainforest Into Cheap Furniture For The U.S.

Driven by American demand for cheap furniture, China has become the greatest importer of illegal timber. The...

Racial wounds rip open under a president with a history of exploiting them

President Donald Trump has spent much of his adult life building his brand around racial divisions.

14 African Countries Who Still Pay Colonial Tax To France

80% of the 10 countries with the lowest literacy rates in the WORLD among adults are in francophone Africa. Namely: Benin (40%), Burkina Faso (26%),...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Alien Base for Giants Discovered in the Bucegi Mountains

In the summer of 2003, in an unexplored area of the Bucegi Mountains, a team from Zero Department (a top secret section of the...

Putin has Banned Rothschild and His New World Order Banking Cartel Family from Entering Russian Territory

As of recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin took yet another decision for his country. "Under any circumstances", the Rothschild family is banned from entering Russian territory. Along...

China Is Turning The Rainforest Into Cheap Furniture For The U.S.

Driven by American demand for cheap furniture, China has become the greatest importer of illegal timber. The...

Drug Company’s Stock Falls 400% After Bernie Sanders Tweets About Corruption

One of the main reasons Bernie Sanders garnered so much support from Millennial voters when he was in the race to become the next...

Scientists Announce $500 Billion ‘Crazy’ Plan to Refreeze the Arctic

In December 2016, climate scientists warned the dramatic melting of Arctic ice or severe “snowmageddon” was linked to soaring polar temperatures, deadly summer heat...

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Sees Fastest Rise

Greenhouse gas emissions rise at fastest rate for 30 years Rise in CO2 concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere causes meteorologists to warn ‘world out of time’ Surging...

BPA Raises Risk for Childhood Asthma

BPA Raises Risk for Childhood Asthma, Study Finds Researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health are...

10 Methods of Mind Control

The more one researches mind control, the more one will come to the conclusion that there is a coordinated script that has been in...

Al-Qaeda Leader Just Admitted to Being Aligned with the United States

The leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen, Qasim al-Rimi, has admitted his fighters have fought alongside Yemeni government forces currently backed...

Amanda Boxtel: Walking With Paralysis Is Now a Reality

Wheelchair User Amanda Boxtel With Paralysis Walks Again With a 3D Printed Exoskeleton In 1992, Amanda Boxtel suffered a vicious skiing accident that left her...