Unrooted responses: Addressing violence against environmental and land defenders

TitleUnrooted responses: Addressing violence against environmental and land defenders
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsGrant H, Le_Billon P
Secondary TitleEnvironment and Planning C: Politics and Space
Key themesCivilSociety-Donors, Environment, MarginalisedPeople

This study considers how participants in community forestry and development organizations respond to forest-related violence. The literature suggests that responses should seek to address the underlying causes of violence, enforce the rule of law, and promote human rights and political empowerment. Yet, these responses are often obstructed and neutralized by power relations and governance challenges, including pervasive corruption and patrimonialism. In Cambodia, the combination of distrust towards corrupt and abusive authorities, rigid legal-rational hierarchies and social conventions, as well as the belief that patrimonialism serves wealthy individuals and lack of awareness of rights makes it difficult to seek, and even less obtain justice for forest-related violence. Few communities, supporting NGOs and foreign donors appear willing and capable of addressing the roots of forest violence, leading to compromises undermining conservation objectives, systemic injustice, and continued exposure to violence for environmental and land defenders. The study points at four areas for further research to reduce the risks of physical harm for defenders, sustain community conservation objectives, and strengthen accountability for forest violence.


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Journal Article