“IT HAS NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT, AND IT HAS NEVER BEEN MORE DEADLY.” – Global Witness
At the UN Climate Talks happening right now in Lima, Peru there are some key people who are deeply missed. The horrific killings of indigenous leaders and environmental activists fighting to protect their lands is a harsh reality of the current state of the world. Today is International Human Rights Day, and we want to honor people who had their lives cut too short. Their voices and hopes for the protection indigenous rights and local environments will continue to live on.
EDWIN CHOTA AND ALTO-TAMAYA-SAWETO
What’s happening in Peru is a microcosm of what’s happening in so many other countries as well. In September 2014 anti-logging campaigners Edwin Chota, the leader of Alto Tamaya-Saweto, a community in Peru’s Amazon Ucayali region, and three other Ashéninka leaders were murdered. They had spent over a decade fighting to protect the forests of their community.
Watch this powerful video from If Not Us, Then Who series about this community and their struggles
In the lead up to the UN Climate Talks, the grassroots group Muévete por el cambio climatico has been sharing the story of Edwin Chota and many other Latin American environmental heroes.
SO MANY STORIES
Global Witness in their 2014 report “Deadly Environment” found that there has been a clear rise in the extrajudicial killing of environmental activists as “competition for natural resources intensifies.” Latin America especially is one of the deadliest places.
Unfortunately there are many more stories to tell.
José Isidro Tendetza Antún, a former vice-president of the Shuar Federation of Zamora – who was supposed to go to the talks in Lima, but instead went missing on November 28th. His body was found in a grave marked “no name” just a few days ago.
He had been leading a fight in Ecuador against the Mirador copper and gold mine that would have devastated 450,000 acres of fores.
If governments are serious about fighting climate change, then they need to do more to protect the lives of the people who are on the frontlines of defending natural resources.
We encourage you to read more:
Peru’s Deadly Environment — Global Witness
Why Do Environmentalists Keep Getting Killed Around the World? — Smithsonian Magazine
Peru Prepares to Host Climate Talks as its Indigenous Forest Defenders Die — New York Times
Brazil: Guarani ‘despair’ as female leader murdered — Survival International