LONDON , April 15 (UPI) -- The number of environmental activists killed has risen dramatically in the past decade, the London-based environmental group Global Witness said in a report.
It documented 147 recorded deaths among those involved in protecting land rights and the environment, compared to 51 in 2002. Between 2002 and 2013, at least 908 activists were killed, resulting in only 10 convictions, the group claimed. It also noted 17 forced disappearances, all of whom are presumed dead.
“Many of those facing threats are ordinary people opposing land grabs, mining operations and the industrial timber trade, often forced from their homes and threatened with environmental devastation,” the report said.
Global Witness said 448 of the deaths, between 2002 and 2013, occurred in Brazil, followed by 109 in Honduras. It noted 67 deaths in the Philippines and 58 in Peru.
Eighty percent of the deaths occurred in Central or South America.
In Brazil, communities are confronted with illegal loggers who deforest the area, then with cattle ranchers and farmers. In Honduras, peasant farmers contest the available land with the expanding agribusiness industry, Global Witness said.