On dangerous ground

More than three people were killed a week in 2015 defending their land, forests and rivers against destructive industries, according to Global Witness. The organisation’s new report, On Dangerous Ground, documents 185 known deaths worldwide last year – by far the highest annual death toll on record and a 59% increase from 2014. Severe limits on information mean the true numbers are undoubtedly higher. The deadliest countries for land and environmental defenders in 2015 were Brazil (50 deaths) and the Philippines (33) - record numbers in both countries - followed by Colombia (26), Peru (12), Nicaragua (12) and Democratic Republic of Congo (11). Major drivers were mining (42 deaths), agribusiness (20), logging (15) and hydropower (15). On Dangerous Ground sheds light on the particular vulnerability of indigenous people, whose weak land rights and geographic isolation make them frequent targets of land and resource grabbing. In 2015, almost 40% of victims were from indigenous groups.

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