More than six years after Agenda 2030 was adopted, crucial gaps in state-reported data severely undermine our ability to monitor the situation of land and environmental defenders.
A Crucial Gap 2023
In 2022, Frontline Defenders reported that 401 human rights defenders (HRDs) were killed across 26 countries. And again in 2022, those who worked to defend the land, environment and Indigenous Peoples’ (ILED) rights were disproportionately represented in the data. In 2021, Global Witness reported that 200 land and environmental defenders were killed. And as ALLIED data demonstrated, lethal killings of ILEDs are only the tip of the iceberg. In five countries where 137 ILEDs were killed, 355 non-lethal attacks against 536 distinct individuals, communities and organizations were recorded. Last year, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre registered 555 attacks against defenders raising concerns about harmful business practices. Of these, 75% were against climate, land and environmental defenders.
Despite well-documented violence against Indigenous Peoples, land and environmental defenders, State-led reporting on the situation of these and other human rights defenders is notably absent.
Relying on two publicly-available data sources – the database of Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and the SDG Global Database – this document reviews to what extent States are acknowledging the situation of human rights defenders and the risks they face, including violence perpetrated against them.