The price of activism

Attacks on green activists are on the rise in Latin America.

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  1. In a recent report the United Nations notes that Latin America is the most dangerous place in the world for environmentalists. Despite the lack of definitive statistics, Global Witness, an NGO, has identified that environmentalists have been killed in at least 34 countries around the world. As seen in the chart below, most of the killings occurred in Latin American countries:
  2. Reported Killings of Environmentalists 2002-2011
    Reported Killings of Environmentalists 2002-2011
  3. The Global Witness study recorded the death of 711 green workers in the last decade. The organisation says this may be a conservative estimate since the report does not account for the victims of land and mining disputes or countries with restrictive human rights reporting. 

    The blog Environmental History Timeline documents the murders of activists year by year.
  4. Many were shocked by the report's findings:
  5. Some created petitions demanding for change, and green blogs encouraged those on social media to join their campaigns.
  6. Campaigns demanding justice were recently established for green workers such as Noe Vazquez Ortiza, the indigenous Amazon leader Mauro Pio Pena and the young biologist Jairo Mora, who were murdered this summer.
  7. Al Jazeera correspondent, Gabriel Elizondo, documented the life, work and subsequent murder of renowned Brazilian rainforest activist, Ze Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Maria do Espirito Santo.
  8. Al Jazeera Correspondent - The Crying Forest
  9. Prior to his death, Ze Claudio presented a TEDx talk about his struggle to protect the Amazon and the threats that he received for it:
  10. Killing trees is murder: Zé Cláudio Ribeiro at TEDxAmazonia
  11. The threats facing green workers led Amazon activist Nilcilene Miguel de Lima to seek 24-hour protection from the Brazilian Police:
  12. Nilcilene Miguel de Lima, Amazon Activist With Escort And Bulletproof Vest: They're Going To Kill Me
  13. Netizens were suspicious that corporate interests in the region were responsible for these deaths.
  14. Others feel that environmentalists hurt development initiatives in Latin America.
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