2016 Was the Deadliest Year on Record for Environmental Activists, Finds New Report

Two hundred people were murdered last year for taking a stand against development projects such as dams, logging, and agricultural plantations — nearly four murders a week, according to a new report from the human rights group Global Witness.  

The killings took place in 24 countries across the globe. Nearly 40 percent of those killed were indigenous activists. Brazil was the deadliest country, with 49 environmentalists murdered in 2016. Honduras, however, remained the most dangerous country per capita, with 14 killings last year.

The number of environmental activists killed every year has been on the rise over the last decade. In 2014, 116 people were killed for trying to stop development projects. In 2015, that number jumped to 185 activists. Last year now stands as the deadliest year on record.

For more information on this disturbing global trend, read Yale Environment 360’s three-part series “Environmentalists at Risk,” which examines the murders of activists in Honduras, Malaysia, and South Africa.