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NEW: Global Witness Annual Report on Land and Environmental Defenders: attacks are on the rise

Dear colleagues,

I hope you’re keeping safe and well as can be at this time.

I wanted to get in touch with details on our new report on Land & Environmental Defenders: Defending Tomorrow, which looks not only at the number of defenders killed in 2019 and the industries driving those attacks, but the strong and crucial link to climate breakdown.

The report, released today and containing a global map, showed how 2019 was a terrible year for those who defend their land and our environment - we recorded 212 defenders murdered for standing up to climate-wrecking projects. That means, on average, four defenders have been killed every week since the creation of the Paris Climate agreement in 2015.

Two of the most dangerous places to be a defender are Colombia and the Philippines,

with more than half of all reported killings last year.

Mining as an industry continued to drive most of the attacks, with 50 defenders killed in 2019, followed by logging and agribusiness. Irresponsible businesses operating in these industries carry out some of the most climate-destructive projects across the world.

We also found that 40% of victims belonged to indigenous communities and over 1 in 10 defenders killed were women.

Our data on killings will never accurately capture the true scale of the problem - limitations on free press and the absence of documented abuses by governments and NGOs can lead to underreporting.

We hope you might be able to share some of the content we have released today, and join us for one of our online events:

Latin America Event: We will be hosting a Spanish language panel on 30th July, this will have a focus on Latin America, with two speakers from Colombia, and speakers from Mexico and Guatemala. You can register for this panel event here, there is a tweet here for reposting.

Global Event: We will also be hosting an English language panel on 13th August, this will include speakers from Philippines and Liberia. You can register for this panel event here, there is a tweet here for sharing here. 

The full report can be found here (English and Spanish), and the press release is here (English, Spanish, Portuguese, French).

You can share this tweet with our video and this tweet on the key figures. Share this posts here on Facebook.

We will be releasing more content over the coming weeks – including a Facebook chat bot that platforms defenders voices and more video content – so please do keep an eye on our social channels and share this content.

Many thanks for your kind support,


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29 July 2020

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