In the years between 2002 and 2013, at least 908 people were killed defending environmental and land rights, according to a new report, Deadly Environment (pdf), put forth by the human rights group Global Witness.
As the need for preservation of the Earth’s natural resources has grown, says the group, the rate of violence against those fighting to protect the planet has faced a “sharp” increase in recent years. In the last four years the death rate of activists has risen to an average of two people a week, according to the report, with 2012 marking the most deadly year with 147 killings. That’s nearly three times more than in 2002.
As head of his village, Prajob Naowa-opas battled to save his community in central Thailand from the illegal dumping of toxic waste by filing petitions and leading villagers to block trucks carrying the stuff – until a gunman in broad daylight fired four shots into him.
Rebecca Tarbotton, an environmental activist who helped persuade big banks to stop financing mountaintop removal mining and who helped persuade Disney to reduce its use of paper made from trees cut down in rain forests, died on Dec. 26 in a swimming accident in Mexico. She was 39 and lived in Oakland, Calif.
via NY Times
The shooting of Emmanuel de Merode, the head of Virunga National Park must be urgently investigated, said Global Witness today. De Merode was shot at least twice in an ambush in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday and is in a serious but stable condition.
Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park, a World Heritage Site and home to some of the last remaining mountain gorillas on the planet. De Merode has been Chief Warden of Virunga since 2008 and a vocal opponent of oil exploration and the lucrative, illegal charcoal trade in the park. An investigation should examine whether there is any link between the exploitation of natural resources and the shooting.
via Global Witness
Third Environmental Activist Murdered This Week
via Huffington Post
West Virginia environmental activist Larry Gibson has died. He was 66.
The Keeper of the Mountains Foundation said on its website that Gibson died from a heart attack Sunday morning at his home on Kayford Mountain in Raleigh County. PR Notes: I don’t think this was a murder. It was not mentioned
via State Journal
A report released Tuesday by the London-based Global Witness said more than 700 people — more than one a week — died in the decade ending 2011 “defending their human rights or the rights of others related to the environment, specifically land and forests.” They were killed, the environmental investigation group says, during protests or investigations into mining, logging, intensive agriculture, hydropower dams, urban development and wildlife poaching.
This report looks at known killings of people defending environmental and land rights. It identifies a clear rise in such deaths from 2002 and 2013 as competition for natural resources intensifies. In the most comprehensive global analysis of the problem on record, we have found that at least 908 people have died in this time. Disputes over industrial logging, mining and land rights are the key drivers, and Latin America and Asia-Pacific particularly hard hit.
Pressing Refresh Notes: You can download a pdf report here.
via Global Witness