Research reveals that more than 200 environmentalists were killed in 2016 trying to protect the land, forests, water and wildlife — a figure that is alarming as it is more than double the number killed five years ago.
And the death rate is only increasing.
In just five months into 2017, 98 more activists have been killed, according to the report.
Conflicts over mining were the greatest cause of the deaths in 2016, followed by logging and agribusiness.
Brazil saw the highest number of casualties, with 49 deaths taking place in the Amazon rainforest.
Around 60 percent of the killings took place in Latin America with a majority of the victims coming from indigenous communities. According to Global Witness, people doing the killings show no fear of reprisal.
“We've always thought of these cases taking place in remote isolated areas but we are seeing attacks becoming more brazen, and that's because so few of these cases result in successful prosecutions,” said Billy Kyte from Global Witness.
More than 711 activists, indigenous people and journalists have been killed in the last 10 years protecting their rights to land and water.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters