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Global Witness Annual Report on Land and Environmental Defenders: attacks are on the rise

In July 2020, Global Witness published an Annual Report on Land and Environmental Defenders. The report, entitled Defending Tomorrow, contains information regarding the situation around environmental defenders all over the world who fight climate breakdown, opposing carbon-intensive and unsustainable industries that are accelerating global warming and environmental damage. It presents a global analysis of various forms of discrimination and violence against environmental defenders.

According to the findings of Global Witness, there has been a significant rise in attacks against land and environmental defenders since 2018. In 2019, the overall number of officially recorded murders of defenders increased to 212. The murders were recorded in 21 countries around the world and two of the most dangerous places to be an environmental defender are Colombia and the Philippines, as more than half of all the reported killings were committed there.

Mining industry continued to drive most of the attacks, with 50 defenders killed in 2019, followed by logging and agribusiness. Global Witness also found that 40% of the victims belonged to indigenous communities. Although not all the countries had murder recordings in 2019, various forms of discrimination and violence against environmental defenders have been observed all around the world.

Global Witness is an NGO founded in 1993. It campaigns to end environmental and human rights abuses driven by the exploitation of natural resources and corruption in the global political and economic system.