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Environmental Defenders Under Threat: Addressing Human Rights Abuses and Environmental Destruction

Land and environmental defenders across the world face threats, attacks, or fatal violence for protecting their land, rivers, forests, and communities from large corporations, paramilitary groups and their own governments.

In 2018, more than three environmental activists were murdered each week on average, with countless more people criminalized, for defending their land and the environment, according to a report from Global Witness. Join us to hear firsthand from defenders in the United States and across the globe who have bravely worked to expose environmental destruction and human rights abuses linked to industries such as extractives, agribusiness, and logging, the sectors most dangerous for defenders. The discussion will focus on the urgent need for greater action by governments, investors, companies, and the international community to support and protect environmental defenders and address the root causes of the violence.

The Defending the Land and Environmental Defenders Coalition, Global Witness, EarthRights International, and World Resources Institute will co-host this event to bring greater awareness to the significant threats facing land and environmental defenders. The event aims to highlight the various ways defenders are coming under attack — physical attacks, being jailed, and becoming locked in costly legal battles that prevent them from carrying out their work.


  • Carole Excell, Acting Director, Environmental Democracy Practice, WRI, Director, Defending Land and Environmental Defenders Coalition (moderator)
  • Clemente Bautista, Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, defender from the Philippines
  • Dr. Yesid Blanco, defender from Colombia
  • Krystal Two Bulls, defender from the United States
  • Rachel Cox, Campaigner, Global Witness Land and Environmental Defenders Campaign

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