^
Philippines is most dangerous country for environment defenders â watchdog
UK-based international watchdog Global Witness said the death toll in the country reached 30 in 2018 with the massacre of farmworkers in Negros, making it a “clear” hotspot of killings.
Michael Varcas

Philippines is most dangerous country for environment defenders — watchdog

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - July 31, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has been declared the world’s deadliest country for environmental defenders after a United Kingdom-based watchdog recorded 30 deaths in the country, the highest recorded globally last year.

UK-based international watchdog Global Witness said the death toll in the country reached 30 in 2018 with the massacre of farmworkers in Negros, making it a “clear” hotspot of killings.

Globally, 164 land and environmental activists have been killed, or about three deaths a week. Following the Philippines are Colombia with 24, India with 23 and Brazil with 20.

Alice Harrison, senior campaigner at Global Witness, lamented how “brutally ironic” it is that the country’s justice system allow the killers of defenders to walk free and how it is also used to brand environmental activists as terrorists, spies or dangerous criminals.

“Both tactics send a clear message to other activists: the stakes for defending their rights are punishingly high for them, their families and their communities,” Harrison said.

Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, one of the local partners of Global Witness in the Philippines, said since 2017, at least 87 land and environment defenders have been murdered by military, paramilitary troops and other state forces for carrying out land occupation and cultivation campaigns across the island.

“The killing fields of Negros is the single biggest driver of environmental defenders in 2018. Scores more are being killed by the military rampage as we speak,” Kalikasan national coordinator Leon Dulce said.

Among the trends the Global Witness report raised alarm over was how the “criminalization of aggressive civil cases are being used to stifle environmental activism land rights defence.”

“Actions against land and natural resource monopolies are increasingly becoming targets of this systematic pattern of violence which the government condones. The unabated killings and the involvement of police, military and even judicial courts in cases of violations is an evidence that these attacks on human rights are state-sponsored,” Dulce said.

Globally, the sharpest increase in murders came in Guatemala, with a fivefold rise in killings, making it one of the bloodiest countries per capita, with 16 deaths.  – With Rhodina Villanueva, Christina Mendez

ALICE HARRISON MASSACRE OF FARMWORKERS WORLD’S DEADLIEST COUNTRY
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with