Colombia accounts for about half of the 331 activists killed worldwide in 2020 – with a total of 177 murdered. The figure was presented in the report of the Irish organization FLD (Front Line Defenders), released last Tuesday (9).
Next are the Philippines, with 25 homicides, in addition to Honduras, with 20, Mexico, with 19, Afghanistan, with 17, Brazil, with 16, and Guatemala, with 15. Three-quarters of the murders of activists worldwide occurred in America Latin.
The murders took place in 25 countries in total and, in all cases, are directly related to the actions of activists.
Colombia tops ranking of activist killings in 2020
Although indigenous peoples represent only 6% of the world's population, their activists account for nearly a third of those killed around the world. Most tried to stop extractive projects.
In 2019, 304 activists were killed in 31 countries. “In the last year, fewer countries have been responsible for a greater number of defenders' murders”, pointed out the head of the organization, Ed O'Donovan. “It is proof of the primacy of impunity“.
Virus forced activism
The restrictions imposed by Covid-19 forced activists to remobilize actions and initiate movements during the pandemic. Attacks on human rights defenders have gained momentum.
“In Colombia, armed groups have imposed their own checkpoints against Covid-19,” the report says. "This exposed human rights defenders to greater risk."
In Peru, deaths jumped one case in 2018 to eight in 2020. Among the murdered activists, 75% were indigenous. “Most, if not all, were in more remote areas and faced corporate and state actors seeking control over land and natural resources,” the report concluded.
In addition to the indigenous, 20 anti-corruption activists were killed last year – the highest number ever documented by the FLD. Of the 331 murdered, 13% were women and six were transgender – all in the Americas.