They stand up against companies, governments and criminal gangs for nature conservation – and risk their lives as well: last year, according to NGOs, more than 200 environmentalists died worldwide. Even in an EU country.

At least 212 environmentalists worldwide have been killed last year in their work for nature, clean water and the protection of indigenous groups. As the non-governmental organization “Global Witness” announced, this is the highest number that has been documented in a single year so far.

“Many of the worst human rights violations have to do with the exploitation of our natural resources and corruption in politics and business,” the organization says. “Environmentalists are those who stand up against it.”

Murders for oil and gas

According to the study, most murders of environmentalists were committed in Colombia (64), the Philippines (43) and Brazil (24). Global Witness registered more than two thirds of all cases in Latin America. But also in the EU country Romania two environmental activists were killed last year. On average, there would be four murders a week. However, the organization expects many cases to be covered up or not reported.

According to the organization, the acts of violence are mostly companies, farmers and sometimes also state actors and criminal groups. “Agriculture, oil, gas and mining are causing violence against environmentalists – those are the industries that are fueling climate change through deforestation and emissions,” said Rachel Cox of Global Witness.

Most of the murders were found to be related to mining (50), agriculture (34) and forestry (24). According to this, around 40 percent of the victims were indigenous, around 10 percent were women.

Deutschlandfunk reported on this topic on July 29, 2020 at 3:00 a.m.