NEW DELHI: In a worrying trend more than three people were murdered each week in 2018, with countless more criminalised, for defending their land and environment. India stood third after Philippines and Colombia where largest number of people was killed, said a global report.
‘Enemies of State?,’ an annual report on the killings of land and environmental defenders by Global Witness revealed a total 164 people were killed across the globe defending their land and environment and 23 people were killed in India followed by the Philippines (30) and Colombia (24).
The report that those killed were ordinary people trying to protect their homes and livelihoods, and standing up for the health of our planet. It further said that often their land was violently grabbed to produce goods used and consumed across the world every day, from food, to mobile phones, to jewellery.
“Mining was the worst sector, causing 43 deaths, though deaths related to conflicts over water sources also surged. Attacks driven by agribusiness, logging and hydropower continued too. Private security groups, state forces and contract killers — sometimes working together — are all suspected of carrying out killings,” the report cited.
“In some countries, the state is labelling defenders as terrorists or enemies of the state, as in the case of nine environmentalists who were jailed in Iran, accused of spying. As we have seen with the crackdown on anti-fracking activism in the UK, governments and industry are also flexing national laws to outlaw protest,” it added.