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    Four people killed every week defending environment as murder rate doubles in 15 years, report says

    August 6, 2019

    Four people are being killed every week for defending the environment and the rate of deaths has doubled in 15 years, a new report warns.

    Only 10 per cent of these murders will result in a conviction, according to the paper published in Nature Sustainability. Globally, 43 per cent of all murders result in conviction.

    Lead researcher Dr Nathalie Butt, from the University of Queensland, said: “The number of reported deaths of environmental defenders has increased, as well as the number of countries where they occur.

    “In many instances, weak rule of law means that cases in many countries are not properly investigated, and sometimes it’s the police or the authorities themselves that are responsible for the violence.”

    Scientists say 1,558 deaths were recorded in 50 countries between 2002 and 2017, which is more than double the number of British and Australian armed service personnel killed during active duty in the same period.

    Countries with higher levels of corruption have more environment-related deaths. Victims are from a variety of groups, including community activists, lawyers, journalists, members of social movements and NGO staff.

    Environmental defenders from indigenous groups had the largest number of deaths, with most violence occurring in Central and South America. One in three deaths between 2014 and 2017 were linked to the mining and agribusiness sectors.

    Scientists – who used data from international NGO Global Witness – are calling for more transparency and accountability from multinational companies and governments about these cases.

    “The ecology of the planet is fundamental to the production of food and resources that we all depend upon, and we are ultimately bound to support it, otherwise it will not support us. Part of this support is to protect the people who protect it,” said Dr Butt.

    “As consumers in wealthy countries – who are effectively outsourcing our resource consumption – we share responsibility for what’s happening.

    “Businesses, investors and national governments at both ends of the chain of violence need to be more accountable.”

    A report released last week by Global Witness found that the Philippines is now the deadliest country for people defending the environment. More than three people were killed every week in 2018.

    Source : https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/four-people-killed-every-week-environment-murder-rate-doubled-climate-change-a9040026.html

    More than 160 environmental, land rights activists murdered in 2018, report says

    July 31, 2019

    At least 164 land and environmental activists were murdered last year for defending their homes, lands and natural resources from exploitation by mining, food and logging firms, Global Witness said Tuesday.

    The charity watchdog’s annual land defenders report found “countless” more people were silenced through violence, intimidation and the use and misuse of anti-protest laws across the world.

    By far the most dangerous place for activists and indigenous communities was the Philippines, which saw 30 murders in 2018, the report said.

    Colombia and India saw 24 and 23 deaths linked to environmental activism in 2018, while Guatemala was the deadliest nation for land defenders per head of population with 16 confirmed killings.

    “This is a phenomenon seen around the world: land and environmental defenders, a significant number of whom are indigenous peoples, are declared terrorists, thugs or criminals for defending their rights,” said Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples.

    “This violence is a human rights crisis but it is also a threat to everyone who depends on a stable climate.”

    The biggest single massacre documented by the group in 2018 occurred in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, with 13 people murdered after protesting the environmental impact of a copper mine.

    At least eight land defenders involved in disputes with representatives of the soy industry were killed in 2018 in the Brazilian state of Para alone, the report said.

    In the Philippines, which overtook Brazil as the deadliest place for land defenders, one incident saw a group of gunmen shoot dead nine sugarcane farmers including a number of woman and children on the island of Negros.

    The lawyer representing families of the victims was shot dead days later, Global Witness said.

    A week ahead of a landmark UN report expected to emphasise the vital role indigenous peoples play in protecting nature, the charity also highlighted what it said was a “worrying global trend” in the intimidation and jailing of defenders.

    It said investors including development banks were fuelling the violence by financing abusive projects and sectors, and named a number of well-known companies accused of facilitating rights violations.

    “It’s not good enough for foreign multinationals that are connected to these land grabs to profess ignorance,” the report said.

    “They have a responsibility to proactively ensure that the land they are profiting from has been leased legally, with the consent of the communities who have lived on it for generations.”

    Britain fracking protest ‘precedent’

    In Britain, the charity documented the case of three anti-fracking activists who in September were sentenced to jail for protesting at a site run by the energy firm Cuadrilla.

    They were freed in October but have still not had their convictions for the crime of “public nuisance” overturned.

    One of the protesters, Simon Blevins, said their case set a worrying precedent for environmental activists in Britain.

    “There has been a lot of scaremongering that even turning up with a placard can put you in trouble and stop you getting jobs, which of course has a deterrent effect on future protest.”

    The overall land defender death toll in 2018 fell from a peak of 207 in 2017, but Global Witness stressed the true number of deaths could be far higher and go unreported or occur in remote regions.

    Source : AFP, 30/07/2019

    UN General Assembly declared 2021as International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour

    July 28, 2019

    The UN General Assembly has urged the international community to step up efforts to eradicate forced labour and child labour, and declared 2021 as the Year for the Elimination of Chil Labour.

    Press release | 26 July 2019GENEVA (ILO News) – The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has unanimously adopted a resolution declaring 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, and has asked the International Labour Organization to take the lead in its implementation.

    The resolution highlights the member States’ commitments “to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”

    The UNGA acknowledged the importance of the ILO’s Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)  and the Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999 (No. 182)  – which is close to universal ratification by the ILO’s 187 member States – as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    It also recognized the importance of “revitalized global partnerships to ensure the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development , including the implementation of the goals and targets related to the elimination of child labour.”

    Argentina took a lead role in advocating for this global commitment, as a follow up to the IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour , which took place in Buenos Aires in November 2017. Seventy-eight countries co-sponsored the resolution.

    “We hope that this will be one more step to redouble our efforts and our progress to advance, day by day, towards a world in which no child is subjected to child labour or exploitation and a world where decent world for all will be a reality,” said Martin Garcia Moritán, Argentina’s representative to the UN.

    The ILO has been working for the abolition of child labour throughout its 100 year-history, and one of the first Conventions it adopted was on Minimum Age in Industry (No. 5, 1919) .

    The organization is a partner in Alliance 8.7  and serves as the secretariat of this global partnership for eradicating forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour around the world.

    Substantial progress has been achieved in recent years, largely because of intense advocacy and national mobilization backed by legislative and practical action. Between 2000 and 2016 alone, there was a 38 per cent decrease in child labour globally.

    “The struggle against child labour has gained extraordinary momentum over the past two decades,” said Beate Andrees, Chief of the ILO’s Fundamentals Principles and Rights at Work Branch. “Yet, 152 million children across the world are still in child labour. We obviously need to scale up action further, and the decision by the General Assembly to declare 2021 the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour will be a great help in focusing attention on the millions of girls and boys still toiling in the fields, in the mines and in factories.”

    ILO estimates  show that in 2016:

    • 152 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 were in child labour, almost half them, 73 million, in hazardous child labour.
    • Hazardous child labour was most prevalent among children aged 15 to 17. Nevertheless, up to a fourth of all hazardous child labour (19 million), was carried out by children under the age of 12.
    • Almost half (48 per cent) of the victims of child labour were aged 5-11 years; 28 per cent were 12-14 years old; and 24 per cent were 15-17 years old.
    • Child labour is concentrated primarily in agriculture (71 per cent) – this includes fishing, forestry, livestock herding and aquaculture – 17 per cent in services; and 12 per cent in the Industrial sector, including mining.

    2 killed, 13 injured in north China coal mine accident

    July 9, 2019

    Two people were killed and thirteen injured in a coal mine accident in north China’s Shanxi Province, local authorities said Monday (08 July).

    The accident happened on Sunday afternoon in a coal mine of Shanxi Tongmei Group, when poisonous gas leaked to a working platform, killing two miners and injuring 13, according to Shanxi administration of coal mine safety.

    At Least 24 Construction Workers Killed as Building Collapses in Cambodian City

    June 24, 2019

    The death toll in a building collapse in Combodia as risen to 24 as hopes faded of finding any more survivors.

    Two days after the building in Sihanoukville collapsed, it emerged that three Chinese nationals and a local landowner involved in the construction had been detained while the incident was investigated.

    The unfinished, seven-storey building Collapsed early on 22 June on top of dozens of construction workers who slept each night on the second floor.

    The condominium was being built in the thriving seaside town, which has been transformed in recent years by a mainly Chinese-led building boom catering to tourists who flock to newly established casinos.

    At least 24 workers were injured in the collapse. The government’s labour ministry said 30 workers were at the site when the building collapsed, but a survived worker Nhor Chandeun said there were about 55 to 60 people inside the building.

    There has been mounting concern in Cambodia about the standard of Chinese construction companies operating in the country.

    The Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh released a statement on Monday which said it “supports a thorough investigation of the accident and necessary measures by competent Cambodian authority in accordance with the law”.

    (Source :https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/24/chinese-builders-arrested-as-toll-in-cambodia-building-collapse-rises-to-24)

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