Mountain, rainforest in fog

Environmental defender in the Philippines shot in front of home

Last Tuesday a paralegal volunteer and provincial human rights officer of the ‘Ifugao Peasant Movement’ (IPM) in the Philippines was shot by multiple assailants. Brandon Lee, a US citizen, had received several death threats to his address prior to this assault on his life.

Header photo: Mountain rainforest in fog via Pxhere

Brandon Lee is a development worker, conducting education and information dissemination on pressing peoples’ and environmental issues in the Philippines. These include large dam projects, effects of climate change and human rights violations.

The incident happened at Brandon’s residence just after picking his daughter up from school. He was rushed to the hospital where he is now fighting for his life. Other officers of IPM and a related human rights organization have also reported threats. This shooting follows only a year after the last lethal shooting of an IPM member, Ricardo Mayumi in March 2018.

Human rights and environmental defenders are increasingly under attack. Over the last few years, IUCN NL has been working with local partner organizations to increase the safety of environmental defenders. A recent report by Global Witness showed that the Philippines is now the country with most recorded murders in the world of people defending their land and environment.

‘We are shocked’, says Antoinette Sprenger of IUCN NL, ‘by the brutal shooting of one of our partners who stands up for the rights of people and nature. Violence against environmental defenders in the Philippines is increasing at an alarming rate.’

Antoinette Sprenger
Senior Expert Environmental Justice