[Vision2020] 7-13-17 Washington Post "Watchdog: At least 200 environmental activists slain in 2016"

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Thu Jul 13 18:55:18 PDT 2017

Watchdog: At least 200 environmental activists slain in 2016


By Peter Orsi and Muneeza Naqvi | AP By Peter Orsi and Muneeza Naqvi | AP
Asia & Pacific <https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific>
July 13 at 9:59 AM

NEW DELHI — At least 200 land and environmental activists were slain in
2016 protecting forests, rivers and land from mining, logging and
agricultural companies, the highest annual number on record, a watchdog
group said Thursday.

India had a threefold increase in such killings but Latin America remained
the deadliest region with some 60 percent of the world’s deaths of
activists protecting local resources, London-based Global Witness said in a
report. The deaths, which rose from 185 the previous year, were reported in
24 countries compared to 16 in 2015.

“The fact that the upward curve of killings has continued ... suggests that
governments and business continue to prioritize short-term profit over
human lives,” Global Witness campaigner Billy Kyte told The Associated
Mining, oil, agriculture and logging were the industries most associated
with activist murders. Kyte said such interests are encroaching more on
previously untouched areas and coming into conflict in particular with
indigenous peoples, who accounted for 40 percent of the victims documented
in the report.

The group said the true number of killings is likely to be much higher,
since collecting such data is difficult. And while murder is an extreme
tactic of oppression, activists also routinely experienced death threats,
assaults, arrests and costly legal battles, it said.

Honduras, where 14 land defenders were killed last year, remained the
deadliest nation per capita. The victims there included Berta Caceres, who
was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her opposition
to a hydroelectric dam project on her Lenca people’s lands. She was slain
in March 2016 by gunmen who forced their way into her home. Two other
members of her indigenous organization Copinh were also killed last year.

Last week, two European development banks announced they were pulling
financing from the dam project that Caceres had opposed.

Forty-nine land activists were slain last year in Brazil, the report said:
“Year after year, this is the most dangerous country in terms of numbers.”

The non-governmental Pastoral Land Commission, which tracks land conflicts
in Brazil, blamed the high level of violence on agriculture, mining, energy
and other companies moving into lands held by traditional and indigenous

The commission itself registered 61 deaths in land conflicts in 2016, the
highest figure in 13 years.
Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
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