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Nearly 1,000 Environmentalists Murdered Between 2002 and 2013


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This Tuesday, environmental group Global Witness released a new report saying that, between the years 2002 and 2013, at least 908 people were murdered for having taken a stand to defend land and environmental rights.

In a press release on the matter at hand, Global Witness details that, according to its investigations into the matter at hand, things really took a turn for the worse about four years ago.

Thus, the group says that, between 2009 and 2013, the average murder rate documented among environmentalists was one of about two people per week. Besides, a total of 147 killings were reported in 2012 alone.

What's interesting is that, according to the Global Witness report on this issue, those guilty of killing people who are trying to defend their lands and/or natural ecosystems more often than not get away with it.

More precisely, the environmental group claims that, despite the fact that nearly 1,000 environmentalists were murdered between 2002 and 2013, just 10 people have until now been convicted in relation to these crimes.

One does not have to be a math genius to figure out that, when compared to the overall number of killings, the number of arrests and subsequent convictions accounts for just little over 1%.

“This shows it has never been more important to protect the environment, and it has never been more deadly. There can be few starker or more obvious symptoms of the global environmental crisis than a dramatic upturn in killings of ordinary people defending rights to their land or environment.”

“Yet this rapidly worsening problem is going largely unnoticed, and those responsible almost always get away with it. We hope our findings will act as the wake up call that national governments and the international community clearly need,” Oliver Courtney with Global Witness said in a statement.

In case anyone was wondering, it would appear that the worst places to be an environmentalist are currently Latin America and South East Asia. Thus, Global Witness informs that, of the 908 deaths that were documented within said time frame, 448 occurred in Brazil. Another 109 happened in Honduras, and 67 were reported in the Philippines.

Of the total number of deaths, about two-thirds were the result of conflicts over land ownership or land use, and many were preceded by intimidation and violence.

To put things into perspective, it must be said that the latest Global Witness report only focuses on 35 countries. This means that the total of number of people who have until now lost their lives while protecting their lands or the environment might be greater.

The environmental group explains that, unfortunately, there are some regions where such incidents go unreported, hence the fact that an accurate account of clashes between environmentalists, and developers and the like is fairly difficult to come by.


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