List of environmental killings

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Environmental killings are murders, assassinations, or other unlawful killings which are linked to environmental issues such as illegal logging, mining, land grabbing, pollution etc. Victims have included not only environmental and land rights activists, but also members of indigenous communities and journalists who have reported on these issues.[1][2][3]


In 2003, the Environmental Justice Foundation reported that in at least 11 countries people had been murdered for opposing shrimp farming and its associated environmental impacts.[4]

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.[1] 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.”[5][6]

List of killings[edit]

Following is a list of the victims of environmental killings by date:

20th century[edit]

Date Activist name Country Cause
July 8, 1905 Guy Bradley United States Birds protection [7]
July 31, 1977 Vital Michalon France killed by police in a demonstration against the fast breeder nuclear reactor at Malville
July 21, 1980 Wilson Pinheiro Brazil Preservation of the Amazon rainforest
July 10, 1985 Fernando Pereira New Zealand Protest against nuclear testing
April 6, 1987 Vicente Cañas Brazil Protection of Enawene Nawe people land
December 22, 1988 Chico Mendes Brazil Preservation of the Amazon rainforest
February 6, 1995 Jeannette Kawas Honduras Protests again palm plantations and dams
November 10, 1995 Ken Saro-Wiwa Nigeria nonviolent campaign against environmental degradation caused by crude oil extraction

21st century[edit]

In 21st century, more than 1000 environmental activists have been killed.[citation needed] Every year, more than 100 environmental activists are murdered throughout the world.[8] 116 environmental activists were assassinated in 2014.[9] More than two environmentalists were assassinated every week in 2014 and three every week in 2015.[10][11] 185 environmental activists were assassinated in 2015.[12] More than 200 environmental activists were assassinated worldwide between 2016 and 2018.[13] In 2019 and 2020 the number was 212[14][15] and 227[16][17] respectively.

Date Activist name Country Cause
September 17, 2003 Jane Tipson Saint Lucia Conservationist and animal rights activism.
12 February 2005 Dorothy Stang Brazil Preservation of the Amazon rainforest
2010 Leonard Co Philippines
January 24, 2011 Gerry Ortega Philippines
May 24, 2011 José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva Brazil Preservation of the Amazon rainforest
16 August 2011 Shehla Masood India RTI and environmental activism
26 April 2012 Chut Wutty Cambodia Critics of the military's alleged role in illegal logging
11 September 2012 Hang Serei Odom Cambodia Reports about illegal logging industry
13 March 2013 Perween Rahman Pakistan Reports about illegal logging industry
May 31, 2013 Jairo Mora Sandoval Costa Rica Protection leatherback turtle nests
25 August 2015 Raimundo Santos Rodrigues (and his wife) Brazil Environmental rights defender.[18][19][20]
11 November 2015 Lkhagvasumberel (Sumbee) Tumursukh Mongolia Snow leopard conservationist
13 October 2016[21] Luiz Alberto Araújo Brazil
3 March 2016 Berta Cáceres Honduras Protests against the construction of Agua Zarca Dam.
2 November 2019 Paulo Paolino Guajajara Brazil Amazon Protector
January 2020 Homero Gómez González Mexico Environmental activist, agricultural engineer, and politician. El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Preserve
October 2020 Fikile Ntshangase South Africa Environmental activist involved in a legal dispute over the extension of an opencast mine operated by Tendele Coal near Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park, the oldest nature reserve in Africa.
18 January 2023 Manuel 'Tort' Paez Teran United States Environmental activist involved in Stop Cop City social movement to prevent construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center by the Atlanta Police Foundation and the City of Atlanta.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Global Witness. 2014. Deadly Environment. The dramatic rise of killings of environmental and land defenders 1.1.2012-31.12.2013. Global Witness, London., retrieved 16 July 2014
  2. ^ Revkin, A. When Journalists Are Dying to Expose Environmental Plunder. New York Times.17 September 2012, retrieved 16 April 2014
  3. ^ Reporters Without Borders. 2009. The Dangers for Journalists Who Report Environmental Issues. Paris. September 2009 Archived 2010-03-31 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 16 April 2014
  4. ^ EJF.2003. Smash & Grab: Conflict, Corruption and Human Rights Abuses in the Shrimp Farming Industry. Environmental Justice Foundation, London, UK, retrieved 16 April 2014
  5. ^ United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2014. UN expert urges States to take into account human rights obligations in their environmental policies. 11 March 2014., retrieved 16 April 2014
  6. ^ "Environmental human rights defenders: emerging challenges and solutions - Universal Rights Group". Universal Rights Group. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  7. ^ Then and Now | Wise International
  8. ^ "Environmental activist murders set record as 2015 became deadliest year". 20 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Map: 116 environmental activists were killed in just one year". 5 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  10. ^ Stout, David. "Environmental Activists Killed in Record Numbers in 2014". Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  11. ^ "Killings of land and environmental defenders in 2015 | Global Witness". Global Witness. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  12. ^ Holmes, Oliver; correspondent, South-east Asia (20 June 2016). "Environmental activist murders set record as 2015 became deadliest year". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  13. ^ "Cambodian forest defenders killed after confronting illegal loggers". The Guardian. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  14. ^ "Defending Tomorrow". Global Witness. Retrieved 2021-09-16.
  15. ^ "A Record Number of Environmental Activists Were Killed In 2019". Time. Retrieved 2021-09-16.
  16. ^ "The industries causing the climate crisis and attacks against defenders". Global Witness. Retrieved 2021-09-16.
  17. ^ "Record number of environmental activists murdered". BBC News. 2021-09-13. Retrieved 2021-09-16.
  18. ^ "Why are Brazil's environmentalists being murdered?". Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  19. ^ "Killings of environmental activists jumped by 20 percent last year". Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  20. ^ "Case History: Raimundo dos Santos Rodrigues | Front Line Defenders". Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  21. ^ Sandy, Matt (24 October 2016). "Murder of Brazil official marks new low in war on Amazon environmentalists". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 January 2018.