Global Witness reports hundreds of Environmental Defenders killed in 2020

According to Global Witness’ annual report, launched today, 227 Environmental Human Rights Defenders were killed in 2020. The report starkly highlights how the attack against those on the front lines of the climate crisis continues for yet another year.

The figures echo findings in my report to the UN Human Rights Council earlier this year: Human Rights Defenders are being killed for their legitimate work, in all world regions, and Environmental Defenders are among those most at risk.

Global Witness’ report importantly notes how killings of Environmental Defenders take place much more commonly in the Global South. Less than 1% of all recorded lethal attacks occurred in the Global North since Global Witness’ records began in 2012, yet the Global North has extracted natural resources in far greater quantities.

“Many companies engage in an extractive economic model that overwhelmingly prioritises profit over human rights and the environment. This unaccountable corporate power is the underlying force that has not only driven the climate crisis to the brink, but which has continued to perpetuate the killing of defenders.

“In too many countries, rich in natural resources and climate critical biodiversity, corporations are operating with almost complete impunity. Because the balance of power is stacked in the favour of corporations, it’s rare that anyone is arrested or brought to court for killing defenders”

Read the full report here

Find news report summaries here:

En español:

Or watch the launch video:


Submit Information

Submit confidential information on a HRD at risk

Communications and Press Releases

How do communications and press releases work?

Contact Mary

Reuest a meeting with Mary or her team