4 people every week were murdered while protecting the environment in 2016

The killings of land defenders are growing and spreading.

Image credit: backbone Campaign/Flickr

A new report, titled Defenders of the Earth, released by Global Witness, shows that nearly four people were murdered every week in 2016 “protecting their land and the natural world from industries like mining, logging and agribusiness.”

According to the report, activists defending their land and the environment face not only murder, but death threats, arrests, sexual assault and aggressive legal tactics.

The following chart shows the number of killings of land and environment defenders by country in 2016:

According to Global Witness, the killings of defenders are growing and spreading. In 2015 there were 185 killings across 16 countries, yet in 2016, the numbers grew to 200 killings in 24 countries. Nearly 40% of those murdered were indigenous. Police and military were behind at least 43 killings, with private actors (such as security guards and hitmen) behind at least 52.

You can download the full report here.


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Alexandra Jacobo is a dedicated progressive writer, activist, and mother with a deep-rooted passion for social justice and political engagement. Her journey into political activism began in 2011 at Zuccotti Park, where she supported the Occupy movement by distributing blankets to occupiers, marking the start of her earnest commitment to progressive causes. Driven by a desire to educate and inspire, Alexandra focuses her writing on a range of progressive issues, aiming to foster positive change both domestically and internationally. Her work is characterized by a strong commitment to community empowerment and a belief in the power of informed public action. As a mother, Alexandra brings a unique and personal perspective to her activism, understanding the importance of shaping a better world for future generations. Her writing not only highlights the challenges we face but also champions the potential for collective action to create a more equitable and sustainable world.