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Mexico has most killings of environment activists

September 29, 2022

A report by Global Witness said the number had decreased slightly compared with 2020 but the number of killings soared in Mexico. In 2021, Latin America was

A framed image of Tomas Roho next to the coffin with his remains.
Authorities claim Mexican activist Tomas Rojo was killed by gangsImage: Luis Gutierrez/AP/picture alliance

A report released Wednesday by advocacy group Global Witness highlighted that more environmentalists were killed in Latin America than any other region in the world last year. 

As many as 200 environmentalists were killed globally in 2021, three-quarters of which occurred in Latin America. In 2020, the total number was 227. 

Mexico had the most deaths at 54 and jumped from its number of 30 reported in 2020. Colombia and Brazil came next, with 33 and 26 cases respectively. 

Mexico, Brazil, Nicaragua and Peru together accounted for over half the total deaths. Indigenous people were the recipients of more than 40% of the attacks, said the report. 

In Mexico, officials believe local authorities are implicated in about 40% of the killings based on preliminary investigations. 

Land conflicts biggest cause

"These lethal attacks continue to take place in the context of a wider range of threats against defenders who are being targeted by government, business and other non-state actors with violence, intimidation, smear campaigns and criminalization," the organization said in its report.

"This figure is likely to be higher as the reasons behind attacks on land and environmental defenders are often not properly investigated nor reported," it added.

Global Witness said land conflicts such as resource exploitation, logging, mining, and large-scale agriculture were behind many attacks.

Killings related to mining and extraction activities were highest with 27 cases. Mexico, Philippines, and Venezuela had 14, 6 and 4 cases respectively.

tg/jsi (AP, Reuters)