At least 200 people were murdered last year for protecting the land, water, and wildlife in their communities, including five park rangers in Africa’s Virunga National Park, which is home to some of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas. These rarely prosecuted murders are being documented in more countries than ever before—24 countries this year compared to 16 in 2015. Together with criminalizing and aggressively prosecuting protestors, the result is suppression of environmentalists, a new report by the nonprofit group Global Witness argues. Global Witness is a London and Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group that works on the intersection of natural resource extraction and human rights.
“Our report is just the tip of the iceberg for what’s really happening,” Kyte told National Geographic. There is little data about the fate of local people trying to protect their land and water in the Middle East, Asia, eastern Europe and Africa.
Criminalization and demonization of …