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Humans · Economy

Press Review: Drug trafficking responsible for large-scale deforestation in South America & Humanitarian crisis in south DRC ignored by UN

February 04th, 2014
topics:Humans, Economy
by:Rebecca Silus
located in:Guatemala, Nicaragua
tags:corruption, deforestation, Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, drug cartels, Guatemala, humanit, indigenous tribes, Nicaragua, rebellion, South America, United Nations, war on drugs

Between 2007 and 2011, large-scale deforestation in Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua quadrupled due to roads and airstrips built by drug traffickers.

Threats and bribes from the cartels have silenced conservation groups, indigenous groups, prosecutors, and government officials, allowing them to clear the land and resell it to corporations for agricultural use. In a report for the journal Science, author Dr. Kendra McSweeny blames the “war on drugs” for the situation because it has pushed traffickers into remote areas, put a premium on their products, and forced them to find destructive ways to launder profits. [BBC]

The UN warns that conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern region has taken focus off the country’s mineral-rich south, where rebellion has displaced 400,000 people. Despite acknowledging the matter as a “humanitarian catastrophe,” the head of the UN mission in the DRC, Martin Kobler, admits that the situation was strategically ignored in favor of sending troops to deal with M23 rebels in the east. He is calling on armed groups to stop the violence and allow groups such as Médecins Sans Frontières to help those in need. [The Guardian, Médecins Sans Frontières]

Article written by:
Rebecca Silus
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