Last year was the deadliest on record for environmental activists, according to new figures released by the UK NGO Global Witness.
The organisation’s latest report documents a “crisis” spreading globally as the number of countries in which killings were recorded countries shot up from 16 to 24. 60% of deaths occurred in Latin America, which means that the region remains the most dangerous one in the world in which to oppose environmental degradation.
Yet again, Brazil, which has witnessed particularly bloody land conflicts in recent months, ranks first with 49 murders. Nicaragua has the highest rate of killings per capita: 11. And in Colombia, figures hit an all-time high: 37.
“This report tells a very grim story. The battle to protect the planet is rapidly intensifying and the cost can be counted in human lives,” says Ben Leather, a campaigner at Global Witness.