A record number of activists working to protect the environment and land rights were murdered last year, according to a report by a campaign group. 227 people were killed around the world in 2020, the highest number recorded for a second consecutive year, the report from Global Witness said.
Almost a third of the murders were reportedly linked to resource exploitation – logging, mining, large-scale agribusiness, hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure.
The report called the victims “environmental defenders” killed for protecting natural resources that need to be preserved, including forests, water supplies and oceans. Since the Paris Agreement on climate change was signed in 2015, the organisation says on average four activists have been killed each week.
It said this “shocking figure” was likely to be an underestimate because of growing restrictions on journalists and other civic freedoms. Logging was the industry linked to the most murders with 23 cases – with attacks in Brazil, Nicaragua, Peru and the Philippines.
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