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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Murder of environmentalists appears on the rise

In this photo taken, Feb. 6, 2012, and released by The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), Chut Wutty, left, stands next to a log in a jungle in Kampong Thom province in northern of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (AP Photo

AP) BANGKOK - The eulogies called Chut Wutty one of the few remaining activists in Cambodia brave enough to fight massive illegal deforestation by the powerful. The environmental watchdog was shot by a military policeman in April as he probed logging operations in one of the country's last great forests.


Nisio Gomes was the chief of a Brazilian tribe struggling to protect its land from ranchers. Masked men gunned him down in November; his body, quickly dragged into a pickup, has not been seen since.


Around the world, sticking up for the environment can be deadly, and it appears to be getting deadlier.


People who track killings of environmental activists say the numbers have risen dramatically in the last three years. Improved reporting may be one reason, they caution, but they also believe the rising death toll is a consequence of intensifying battles over dwindling supplies of natural resources, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

Killings have occurred in at least 34 countries, from Brazil to Egypt, and in both developing and developed nations, according to an Associated Press review of data and interviews.

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