[Blog] Why Aren't Countries Reporting Environmental Defender Killings?

Why Aren’t Countries Reporting Environmental Defender Killings?

By Carole Excell (@caroleexcell) and Eva Hershaw

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It’s been nearly 10 years since Chut Wutty, an environmental investigator and activist from Cambodia, was murdered while trying to halt an illegal logging operation.

His death prompted widespread indignation and inspired the civil society organization Global Witness to begin documenting the killing of land and environmental defenders worldwide. This led to the publication of “Deadly Environment,” in 2014, a landmark report that would become an annual account of killings against such activists worldwide. In its first report, Global Witness noted that killings were “notoriously under-reported” by governments.

A year later, in 2015, the question was taken up by the United Nations, which adopted Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 to achieve peace, justice and transparent institutions. The framework included a specific benchmark — indicator 16.10.1 — calling on countries to monitor killings of all human rights defenders and protect them.

But in the six years since the SDGs were approved, violence perpetrated against human rights defenders, specifically land and environmental defenders, has continued unabated. In fact, despite growing international attention, the overwhelming majority of governments have failed to take meaningful steps to better protect them.

Click here to read the full blog!

Click here to read the recent Crucial Gap report, released by the Alliance for Land Indigenous and Environmental Defenders (ALLIED coalition), and which details the concerning extent to which official data on land and environmental defenders is missing.

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From experience, most of the companies/groups that are destroying the environment are after profit and they get a lot of profit, and most governments want more taxes from these companies and most of the project has political influence so once the defender demand justice is threatened, rejected, permit and if they see the project will fail or it will increase the cost of operating one of those (company, government, politician), they terminate the defender as a key target, but they do not see what the defender want to comply by respecting the right to the good environment since nobody denies the project but wants to be done in a good manner. My ideas all human defenders need to secure such as having chip no record & track their movement these will prevent the country to take away the life and also to know who killed who are made accountable for their evil. Environment destruction is increasing hence we can lose more defenders if we do not have a watchdog.

Truly upsetting!

I think that some countries (and their governments) play an indirect role in these killings - by directing their attention towards corporate companies rather than paying attention to civilians. To mitigate this, I cannot stress enough the need to have Social Licences to Operate (SLOs) established in national legal frameworks.

due to the transnational dimension, the high profitability leads to corruption and laws disguised to propagate corruption, there tends to be resource misallocation thereby further lessening ecological efficiency.