“We don’t want to see any more bloodshed,” said the child of one slain land defender.
The price of our groceries isn’t just what we pay at the checkout counter ― it’s also the violent killings of environmental activists that reached record levels last year.
Paramilitaries, government troops, hired gangsters and smugglers killed 207 people trying to protect the environment from the spread of businesses like cattle ranches and sugarcane plantations in 2017, according to a new report by international NGO Global Witness. That’s approximately four environmental defenders killed every week of the year.
For the first time, agribusinesses that produce commodities such as beef, palm oil and coffee overtook mining and natural resource extraction as the most deadly sector for the (mainly) indigenous people who work either voluntarily or professionally to protect environmental or land rights.
Ramón Bedoya’s father, Hernán, was one of those 207 victims. Colombian paramilitaries shot him 14 times after he protested oil palm and banana plantations expanding onto his community’s lands, Global Witness reported.