In February of this year, a deportation officer of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency was indicted for extorting immigrants for cash and sexual favors. Arnaldo Echevarria promised two undocumented women “working papers” in exchange for sex, eventually impregnating one of them.
This is just one example of the many cases of sextortion that vulnerable women, and sometimes men, face around the world.
Commercial agriculture has driven land use changes and not only affected millions of hectares of forested land, but also farmers’ and local people’s land rights. Efforts to combat deforestation are at the forefront of the international aid agenda, and clarifying and securing land rights is important for its success.
BERTA CÁCERES, ASSASSINATED in her home in March 2016, was just one of hundreds of Latin American environmental activists attacked in recent years. At least 577 environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) were killed in Latin America between 2010 and 2015 – more than in any other region. In addition to violence, EHRDs suffer legal threats and harassment, severely impeding their work. Before Cáceres' murder, she faced trumped-up charges due to her opposition to hydroelectric dams on her indigenous community's territory.
“It is up to me to follow in the same footsteps as my father walked, so that they’ll give us back our land again.”
- Ramón Bedoya, Colombia
“The desire for justice and reparations for the fallen defenders, for their families, and above all that this never happens again—that is an energy that compels you to keep working.”
– Isela González, Mexico
“The owner of the plantation… should give back our land… It’s not just for our family but the rest of the people living in the area. My father offered his blood. He gave his life. We will continue.”
A CLASSIC RESPONSE from governments and businesses in recent time is not just to characterize legitimate grievances by Indigenous Peoples and local communities as anti- government, anti-development, and anti-investment. They are waging wars against Indigenous Peoples and individuals who are protecting the planet and its people by criminalizing their legitimate grievances and then threatening, arresting, intimidating, and imprisoning those who dare challenge this mode of development.
FRONT LINE DEFENDERS has documented 821 human rights defenders (HRDs) who have been killed in the four years since we started producing an annual global list in cooperation with national and international NGOs. Seventy-nine percent of this total came from six countries: Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines. The vast majority of these cases have never been properly investigated, and few of the perpetrators of the killings have been brought to justice.
Plantation workers in southern India are the unlikely subjects of a Tamil language film whose director said he wanted to draw attention to their struggles, which remain largely unchanged despite the country's fast economic growth.
"Merku Thodarchi Malai" (The Western Ghats), shows the daily lives of workers on cardamom estates in the hills on the frontiers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala states, and explores themes of landlessness, migration, caste and human-animal conflict.
Montenegro is preparing another millennial nationalization, as land grabbing becomes a country’s law, with 293 million square metres of seacoast territories to be seized. Private property is being treated as a money machine, leaving owners deprived.