More than three people were killed a week in 2015 defending their land, forests and rivers against destructive industries. For our new report On Dangerous Ground we documented 185 killings across 16 countries – by far the highest annual death toll on record and more than double the number of journalists killed in the same period.
The family of Michelle Campos (main picture) were among those killed. In September 2015, her father and grandfather were executed in full view of their family and friends in an attack that drove 3,000 indigenous people from their homes. Rich in coal, nickel and gold, their region of Mindanao in the Philippines is one of the most dangerous in the world for land and environmental activists, with 25 deaths in 2015 alone.
“We get threatened, vilified and killed for standing up to the mining companies on our land and the paramilitaries that protect them,” said Michelle. “My father, grandfather and school teacher were just three of countless victims. We know the murderers – they are still walking free in our community. We are dying and our government does nothing to help us.”
Global Witness are calling for urgent, meaningful action to end the rising tide of violence which – despite the high profile murder of Berta Caceres earlier this year – is largely escaping international attention.