The effects of deforestation in Toolangi, Australia. (crustmania / CC BY-SA 2.0)

A new report reveals that at least 116 environmental activists were killed last year while campaigning against mining, logging, and water and land grabs.

According to the U.K.-based group Global Witness in the “How Many More?” report, two activists were killed, on average, every week — up a fifth from 2013. The report states that the death toll could actually be far higher because the remote location of clashes in villages and jungles means many deaths are not officially recorded. Almost three-quarters of the known fatalities were in Central and South America, with Honduras being the most dangerous country per capita and Brazil, Colombia and the Philippines also witnessing high numbers of deaths.

From The Independent:

Some have been shot by police during protests or gunned down by hired assassins, its research found, while many more activists are threatened by the companies they oppose.

Around 40 per cent of those victims were indigenous and involved in disputes over hydropower, mining, logging, land disputes and water.

“In Honduras and across the world environmental defenders are being shot dead in broad daylight, kidnapped, threatened, or tried as terrorists for standing in the way of so-called development,” said Billy Kyte, a campaigner at Global Witness.

“The true authors of these crimes – a powerful nexus of corporate and state interests – are escaping unpunished. Urgent action is needed to protect citizens and bring perpetrators to justice.”

Many cases have not been legally resolved but suspected killers include members of paramilitary groups, police, private security guards and the military.

Global Witness is calling on governments and international bodies to monitor, investigate and punish crimes against activists and for Honduras in particular to address alleged abuses before the UN Human Rights Council.

The country has seen 111 known killings between 2002 and 2014, the report said. An indigenous activist in Honduras, Berta Cáceres, the winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize, said she is persecuted by supporters of a dam.

“They follow me. They threaten to kill me, to kidnap me, they threaten my family. That is what we face,” she said.

Read more here.

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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