Fikile Ntashangase, was a 65 year old environmental activist and one among the 227 other activists, that is nearly 4 people per week, were murdered in the year 2020. It’s more killings than the global witness group has ever recorded in a single year since it started publishing these reports in 2012.
Several cases remain unreported and the number of murders is likely an undercount. Countries with heavy suppression of media and information, face the dire consequences that make it extremely hard to parse out the incidents. The people killed each year defending their local places are also defending our only home. The activities that pollute and degrade the environment by fuel extraction and deforestation are at the heart of so many of these killings. The largest number of murders (65 of them) happened in Colombia, followed by Mexico (30) and the Philippines (29). Those three countries together accounted for more than half of the killings in the report.
Militia or guerrilla groups were linked to 30 deaths, armed forces to 18, and police to 12. Over one-third of the fatal attacks targeted Indigenous people. One of those killed, Oscar Eyraud Adams, was shot lust a month
after showing local media how dry the land had become in Tecate, Mexico. Adams had complained that large companies like Heineken were diverting water from the community, according to a local report on his death. But Global Witness expects these death tolls to continue rising in the years to come as the climate crisis accelerates. The report recommends that these precious lives must be protected for the good cause they’ve been fighting for and consider their contribution to human rights.