According to a new report by Global Witness, at least one person is being killed in an environmental dispute around the world each week as the battle for land, natural resources and forests becomes increasingly.
The article shows that at least 106 people were killed in 2011 alone, nearly twice the death toll in 2009, in targeted attacks and clashes in resource-rich areas such as South America and South-East Asia. A total of 711 people were killed from 2002 to 2011 in such disputes, or more than one a week, it added, saying a culture of impunity pervaded which meant few convictions were made.
“It is a well-known paradox that many of the world’s poorest countries are home to the resources that drive the global economy,” the report said. “Now, as the race to secure access to these resources intensifies, it is poor people and activists who increasingly find themselves in the firing line.”
Natural resources deals were often agreed in secret between officials, political elites and companies, the report said, leaving people who lived off the land or forests affected without any rights or say in the process. Those who did try to speak out were often punished with violence, forced evictions or killings.
“Killings took a variety of forms ,including clashes between communities and state security forces, disappearances followed by confirmed deaths, deaths in custody, or one-off or multiple targeted assassinations,” the report says.
“We believe that these trends are symptomatic of the increasingly fierce competition for resources, and the brutality and injustice that come with it,” it added.
“Land and forests are used for a range of purposes including intensive agriculture, mining, plantations, logging operations, urban expansion or hydropower projects.”
Read the full story in Italian on Villaggio Globale