Mexico City.- Mexico added 185 land and environmental defenders murdered between 2012 and 2022, warns the annual report on the matter by Global Witness, released this Tuesday.
This is, he points out, the fourth highest figure worldwide, after those of Colombia (382), Brazil (376) and the Philippines (281).
The report indicates that 54 deaths were recorded in Mexico in 2021, and another 33 were recorded in 2022.
“However, the general situation in Mexico continued to be alarming for defenders of the land and the environment, and non-fatal attacks, including intimidation, threats, forced displacement, harassment and criminalization , continued to make their work very difficult,” he warns.
At least 16 of the defenders murdered last year in Mexico, he details, were indigenous.
The list of deaths includes 7 members of the Indigenous and Popular Council of Guerrero-Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG-EZ) murdered between May and November in the municipality of Chilapa and 3 members of the Unity Movement for Coyomeapan, in Puebla, executed in May.
Global Witness also highlights the case of the Baldenegro family in Chihuahua.
“Mexico also witnessed the relentless attack on defenders of the same family: the father of the Rarámuri indigenous leader José Trinidad Baldenegro was murdered when he was only 11 years old. Years later, in 2017, José’s brother, Isidro Baldenegro, was also murdered. , awarded the Goldman Environment Prize in 2005. José was one of the defenders murdered in 2022,” the report details.
The murders of land and environmental defenders, warns the international organization, are nothing more than the tip of the iceberg.
“Underneath are hidden countless attacks (mostly unreported) that, although they do not end the life of a defender, do radically transform them. Criminalization is one of them,” he points out.
“Defenders are being forced to confront the very legal system that should protect them.”
When presenting the report, Laura Furones stressed that it is not just statistics.
“Behind every figure there are people who are working to protect the planet,” he said.
The activist drew attention to the disproportionate number of attacks against indigenous people, defenders of the land and the environment.
“Indigenous peoples play an absolutely essential role in protecting forests, land and planet and so it is perhaps not surprising that they are particularly targeted,” he said.