The Philippines remains on top of a list of countries that are considered “deadliest” for land and environmental defenders.
In its annual report released this week, the international organization Global Witness noted that 19 environmental activists were killed in the Philippines last year, making it the fourth deadliest country in the world.
The figure, however, went down compared to the 30 killings listed in 2020. The report said at least 270 land defenders were killed in the Philippines between 2012 and 2021.
With 54 killings, Mexico is first, followed by Colombia (33), Brazil (26), the Philippines, and Nicaragua (15).
“Each and every death of a defender is a sign that our economic system is broken,” read the report.
“Fueled by the pursuit of profit and power, there is a war over nature and the frontlines are the Earth’s remaining biodiverse regions,” it added.
The report said about 200 environmental and land defenders were killed around the world in 2021.
More than three-quarters of the killings took place in Latin America, where Colombia, Brazil and Nicaragua also logged double-digit death tolls.
“Most of these crimes happen in places that are far away from power and are inflicted on those with, in many ways, the least amount of power,” said the report.
“Our data on killings is likely to be an underestimate, given that many murders go unreported, particularly in rural areas and in particular countries,” added the report.