According to Global Witness, the number of environmental killings worldwide reached 147 in 2012, and the total number of such murders between 2002 and 2013 exceeds 908. In only six of these cases were the killers tried, convicted and punished. The report blames this level of impunity, together with the lack of attention to the issue, for the rise in the numbers of deaths.
In March 2014, when the United Nations Independent Expert on human rights and the environment, John Knox, presented his first detailed report to the UN Human Rights Council on the human rights obligations relating to environmental protection he stated: “Environmental human rights defenders deserve no less protection than other human rights defenders.”
116 environmental activists were assassinated in 2014. More than two environmentalists were assassinated every week in 2014 and three every week in 2015.185 environmental activists were assassinated in 2015.