Australian, British researchers uncover alarming trends . . .
Defenders of the environment face a higher death rate than do Australian and British soldiers deployed to war zones, with Indigenous peoples forming the largest proportion of those killed. This according to new research published in Nature Sustainability. The article states that the 1,558 recorded deaths of environmental defenders between 2002 and 2017 were largely due to external demand for natural resources and doubled over that period from two to four per week. The study said the Asia Pacific is deeply linked to this “supply chain of violence.”
Philippines, India lead death tolls . . .
The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Nathalie Butt, from the University of Queensland, said: “The number of reported deaths of environmental defenders has increased, as well as the number of countries where [these deaths] occur. In terms of conviction rates for murders, globally it's about 43 per cent, whereas for environmental defenders the average is about 10 per cent.” The Philippines led in overall deaths in 2018, with a 71 per cent increase in murders of environmental defenders from 2016 to 2017 under President Rodrigo Duterte. In 2017, India, Myanmar, and Pakistan, also led the region in this grim statistic.
Only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ . . .
The authors track various forms of violence, from deaths in Papua New Guinea over benefit-sharing to the displacement of entire communities in Cambodia. The total number of deaths is likely underestimated especially in areas where media and NGO access is restricted. While the article names specific American, European, and Australian companies, Canada’s own role in the region also deserves scrutiny – Canadian industry leaders in the region have alluded to violence as a cost of doing business and that worksite “gang rape is a cultural habit” in the region.
- Nature Sustainability: The supply chain of violence
- Global Witness: At what cost? Irresponsible business and the murder of land and environmental defenders in 2017
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Environmental activist killings double as corruption identified as key driver