he study highlights three key factors driving this increase in violence.
First, the report notes that female defenders are more exposed to violence, due to the prevalence of a patriarchal culture across Latin America. "El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras have all reported an increase in attacks against female human rights activists; the great majority of these cases remain unsolved and the perpetrators act with impunity," it states.
Secondly, Oxfam highlights the connection between human rights violations and "the expansion of extractive industries as a national revenue model for Latin American and Caribbean countries."
The constant increase in land seizures by the agro-industrial and speculation sectors, together with the implementation of mining and energy mega-projects, has placed those who live in these areas in an extremely vulnerable situation and given rise to forced displacement, loss of livelihoods, dispossession of land and environmental impact for rural communities and indigenous peoples.
"Without a doubt, the dynamics of extractive industries fail to respect the right to free, prior and informed consent, as these businesses undertake large-scale projects without authorization from the communities, triggering widespread violence against citizens who oppose these projects in their territories," said Asier Hernando, Oxfam's regional deputy director in Latin America and the Caribbean, who contributed to the report.
According to a September report from the group Frontline Defenders, 41 percent of murders of human rights defenders in 2015 were related to protection of the environment, land, and the rights of Indigenous people.
"What is worse," Hernando continues, "is that in the majority of these cases all of this occurs with the acquiescence of the governments, who grant licenses without regard for international protocols."