RADIO-CANADA INTERNATIONAL | Environmental activists face high risk of violence and assassination: study

Published: 7 July 2020

Activists defending their communities and the surrounding environment against development of extractive industries and land grabs for agrarian use face high rates of criminalization, physical violence and murder around the world, according to a study published this month in the journal Global Environmental Change. The study, which analyzed 2,743 cases of environmental conflicts worldwide, found that despite the fact that these activists primarily use nonviolent forms of protest, they become victims of violence in 18 per cent of these conflicts and murder in 13 per cent of all cases.

Leah Temper, an ecological economist and a political ecologist at McGill University, who co-authored the international study, said despite the number of cases analyzed by the researchers, these environmental conflicts involving the extractive industry are “just the tip of the iceberg. This just gives you an idea of the stakes that we’re talking about in a lot of these conflicts,” said Temper, who specializes in studying extractive industry conflicts and environmental justice issues.

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