In a disturbing trend, environmental activists and wildlife rangers around the world are being brutally killed at an alarming rate of four per week. Two hundred environmental activists, wildlife rangers and indigenous leaders trying to protect their land were killed in 2016. This is more than double the number killed five years back.
John Knox, UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, says, “There is an epidemic now, a culture of impunity, a sense that anyone can kill environmental defenders without repercussions, eliminate anyone who stands in the way. It [comes from] mining, agribusiness, illegal logging and dam building.”
Most environmental defenders die in remote forests or villages affected by mining, dams, illegal logging, and agribusiness. Many of the killers are reportedly hired by corporations or state forces. Very few are ever arrested or identified.