Extinction Rebellion draws attention at COP25 to the 164 environmental defenders killed in 2018
On December 9, Extinction Rebellion Spain posted, “At least 164 Earth defenders were killed in 2018, many of them indigenous. Minga Indígena and Extinction Rebellion Beyond Borders demand COP25 listen to the indigenous people NOW.”
Those killed were individuals who worked to protect their land/territory, water and air and stop major drivers of climate change, including mining and extractives, agribusiness, deforestation, and hydroelectric dams.
Extinction Rebellion has previously noted, “Last year, 164 activists were killed in the Global South for trying to defend their lands from corporate extractivism. Yesterday [October 9], rebels all over the world held vigils to honour them, coming together in a global solidarity action.”
“The figure of 164 deaths is only an estimate. The real figure is likely to be much higher. Two indigenous activists are murdered every week for defending their lands from Western extractivist corporations, and their names are rarely known widely around the world.”
On October 18, Peace Brigades International-Canada attended an Extinction Rebellion Ottawa action and remembered those killed. To read more on that, please see Extinction Rebellion Ottawa acknowledges land defenders killed protecting the environment.
COP25 in Madrid
The United Nations COP25 climate summit in Madrid provides an opportunity for States to build on the language regarding human rights obligations in the Paris Agreement, include human rights in the Paris Rulebook, reinforce language and practices to protect human rights defenders from threats or attacks, and to ensure that all measures adopted to address climate change are situated within a human rights framework.
To read further context on this, please see The UN COP25 climate summit and the need to protect human rights defenders.
In 2018, 84 Peace Brigades International volunteers accompanied, observed, and made office rounds on 1,334 occasions to support human rights defenders.
The impact of that accompaniment is tangible.
Ivan Madero from the Colombian group CREDHOS has stated, “The political deterrence that PBI creates is fundamental.” Lorena Cabnal, an Indigenous feminist in Guatemala, says, “I believe that without PBI’s accompaniment I would not be here today.”
And yet the need for greater protection remains clear.
In 2018, in the countries where PBI has field projects that accompany at-risk defenders, 24 land and environment defenders were killed in Colombia, 16 in Guatemala, 14 in Mexico, 4 in Honduras, and 2 in Kenya.