Defending land rights and the environment is dangerous. In jails around the world, community leaders are unjustly imprisoned for defending the lands that all humanity relies on. Criminalisation is a tactic being used by Government and companies all over the world. It takes many different forms but the objective is always the same – to hinder the important work that defenders do and move ahead at all costs with destructive mining, logging, agri-business and dams. UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz has called the criminalisation of land rights defenders “a global crisis.”
This map aims to give a snapshot of this global crisis. It features cases of criminalisation that took place – or are still active – in 2018 and 2019 and for which we had permission to publish the case. We know that there are hundreds more cases out there – and defenders for whom it is too dangerous to appear on a public map of this kind. This map is just the tip of the iceberg.
With this map we pay homage to land and environmental defenders everywhere – those who are behind bars or living in fear of arrest, those who are forced to waste precious time and resources on groundless and humiliating criminal proceedings and those who are the victims of threats and acts of intimation. We Stand with Defenders everywhere and demand an End to Criminalistion.