The most dangerous region to defend human rights and the environment is Latin America.
During the initial phase of the Covid pandemic, when individual defenders were especially isolated, the number murdered in Colombia alone skyrocketed to 310. Even when the rhythms of life returned to something closer to normal in 2021, 171 human rights leaders were murdered in Colombia. While Colombia tops the list, Mexico and Guatemala are not far behind.
Rarely, if ever, are the perpetrators held to account. Impunity reins in large part because, as a group, defenders are maligned and criminalized by the repressive governments they challenge, circumstances that compel them to hide and render them invisible outside of their small circles of trusted allies.
These individuals defend some of the most precious and threatened aspects of life. Who will defend them?