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Environmental group Global Witness says at least 227 people died last year defending their homes, lands and livelihoods against environmental exploitation as the worsening climate crisis increasingly pits people against each other. economic interests to local communities.

The total is the highest since Global Witness began collecting information on attacks on “environmental defenders” in 2012. Almost a third of the deaths were linked to the exploitation of resources, such as mining, logging and dam projects.

“It has become clear that the unwarranted exploitation and greed driving the climate crisis are also leading to violence against land and environmental defenders,” Global Witness said when releasing its report.

Global Witness’s findings are gruesome but expected, said Mary Lawlor, the UN’s independent expert on human rights defenders, who has conducted similar research.

“Corruption in criminal justice systems too often protects the governments and businesses responsible for these killings, and those responsible are rarely brought to justice,” she told The Associated Press. “Until the political will to stop these killings is found, until this corruption is rooted out, we will likely see hundreds more killings of human rights defenders, many of them environmental advocates.

The threat to environmental activists has grown steadily since Global Witness’s first report in 2012, when it counted 147 murders around the world.

“They are in danger because they find themselves living on or near something a business requires,” wrote Bill McKibben, leading author on climate change and researcher-in-residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. , in a foreword to the report. “Responsibility is rarely accepted afterwards C. But companies need to be more responsible and they need to take action. “


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