More than 200 environmental activists were killed last year for opposing large-scale agricultural and mining projects, a global rights watchdog said on July 24.
The British-based Global Witness said it had documented 207 cases in 22 countries where activists were killed while trying to protect land from development, often for the production of consumer staples such as coffee and palm oil.
The toll made 2017 the deadliest year since 2001, when the group started collecting data.
Global Witness said it had found evidence that government security forces were responsible for 53 of the deaths.
"When people dare to stand up for their rights and demand that the environment be protected they are silenced in the most brutal way," Ben Leather, senior campaigner at Global Witness, said.
Brazil was the most dangerous country for land activists in 2017 with 57 killed, while the Philippines accounted for 48, the organization said in its annual report.