2017 was a year of record violence against environmental and land rights defenders, according to a recent Global Witness report. According to the report, at least 207 people were murdered last year for taking peaceful action to defend their land, their environment and their livelihoods against corporate predation.
Agribusiness has surpassed mining as the most dangerous sector for defenders, accounting for 46 murders of activists opposed to the encroachment of palm oil, sugar cane, coffee and tropical fruit production and cattle ranching. Nearly 60% of the killings took place in Latin America, with Brazil home to 57 murders (President Temer denounced the report as “fake news”). The Philippines accounted for 48, the highest figure in Asia. Government security forces were directly linked to around a quarter of the killings. And the figures, which document only killings and exclude harassment and criminalization, undoubtedly underestimate the scale of the deadly violence, a point emphasized by the authors.
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