Americas: States must reverse rising tide of attacks against environmental human rights defenders

In response to the findings that the NGO Global Witness published today in its annual report, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International said:
“Latin America remains the world’s most dangerous region for human rights defenders who work on land and environmental issues. The number of killings rose to unprecedented levels last year, with Brazil recording the worst figures of any country in history. The situation in Mexico has also deteriorated drastically, with criminal gangs taking advantage of the failure of the state to effectively protect rural communities.
“Amnesty International has also identified Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Peru and Paraguay as countries that are particularly dangerous for environmental human rights defenders. Aside from killings, they also face many other forms of attacks and harassment, including death threats and criminalization through the misuse of the justice system.
“Standing up to powerful actors to protect your land or the environment should not mean having to put your life on the line. But with corruption, impunity and repression fueling much of the violence across the region, the authorities must take immediate and effective measures to protect human rights defenders, many of whom are dedicated to Indigenous rights, and guarantee that their communities are genuinely consulted about any projects that will affect them.”