A new report details how agribusiness—especially soy, sugar, palm oil, and beef production—was the second deadliest sector for people standing up for the environment and their lands.
When armed gold miners in military uniforms last week invaded protected land in Northern Brazil and murdered Emyra Wajãpi, a 68-year-old activist and leader of the Wajãpi indigenous community, it was not an isolated incident.
In the most immediate sense, this violence can be linked to Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro. Called the “Trump of the Tropics” by the British press, Bolsonaro has encouraged the exploitation of indigenous land and rapid deforestation of the Amazon for mining, cattle ranching, and soy production.
“Of course, [violence] is a natural consequence of such kinds of pronouncements,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Yet Tauli-Corpuz also connects the death of Wajãpi to a much larger, global pattern of violence against environmental defenders, a term used to describe people protecting their rivers, forests, and soils.