Between 2012 and 2022, at least 1,910 people advocating for environmental protection were killed worldwide, a new report finds.
In 2022 alone, 177 environmental activists were murdered, or roughly one every other day, according to Global Witness, a U.K.-based watchdog group. “Violence, intimidation, and harassment are also being inflicted to silence defenders around the world,” Shruti Suresh, of Global Witness, said in a statement.
Nearly nine in 10 killings last year took place in Latin America, with three in 10 occurring in Colombia, the most dangerous country for environmental activists. Colombia saw murders nearly double between 2021 and 2022, though last year ended on a hopeful note. In October, it ratified the Escazú Agreement, a regional pact requiring countries to prevent attacks on environmental defenders.
Brazil saw the second-most killings, including the high-profile murders of Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips. Brazil was followed by Mexico, Honduras, and the Philippines.
Globally, one-third of victims were Indigenous people. “Research has shown again and again that Indigenous peoples are the best guardians of the forests and therefore play a fundamental role in mitigating the climate crisis,” said Laura Furones, of Global Witness. “Yet they are under siege in countries like Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela for doing precisely that.”