Organized crime is indiscriminate in who it targets. Not only are conflicts between, and within, criminal groups often settle with violence, but the same violence regularly claims the lives of innocent people. There are also a very large number of those who are deliberately targeted for murder because they choose to take a stand against organized crime. This podcast tells their stories.

Javier Valdez was an award-winning Mexican journalist at Ríodoce in Culiacán, Sinaloa. For years he bravely covered the issue of drug trafficking, and for that he was murdered.

Javier Valdez Profile

Watch: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) International Press Freedom Award 2011 speech in full.

If you would like to explore other profiles on our dedicated website - assassination.globalinitiative.net. Please help us mark the death anniversaries by using the hashtag #AssassinationWitness

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Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Born and bred in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Marielle Franco was a passionate politician - fighting against rampant police violence in the favelas she called home.

Marielle represented communities who are often marginalized from politics, threatening the established system. For that she was likely killed.

Marielle Franco Profile

If you would like to explore other profiles on our dedicated website - assassination.globalinitiative.net. Please help us mark the death anniversaries by using the hashtag #AssassinationWitness

Download the free Faces of Assassination e-book

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

It's an election year in Mexico and according to the government at least 64 Mexican politicians have been murdered in the past six months. Yet this phenomenon is not exclusive to Mexico - In Italy, 134 politicians were killed between 1974 and 2014. In Colombia, in 2019, seven political candidates were murdered. And in Uganda, 54 people were murdered in November 2020 during an election campaign.

The assassination of politicians by organized crime needs greater attention – these murders have a series impact of politics, corruption, and communities across the world.

Presenter: Siria Gastelum Felix, the Emmy Award-winning Journalist and Director of the Resilience Fund at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Speakers:

Gemma Dipoppa, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Political Science at Stanford University.

Antônio Sampaio, Senior Analyst at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Romain Le Cour Grandmaison, Co-Founder & Chief Research Officer at Noria Research / PhD Sorbonne University and member of the GI Network of Experts

Featured Profile: Marielle Franco

Help keep their stories alive – by going to our website – assassination.globalinitiative.net, subscribe to our newsletter and this podcast series. Help us remember the death anniversaries, using our hashtag #AssassinationWitness.

Faces of Assassination e-Book

Thousands of Elephants are killed each year in Africa by poachers. The thin red line between these animals and extinction is the scores of brave men and women who risk their lives to protect them.

One of those brave individuals was a South African called Wayne Lotter – a conservationist and the co-founder of the PAMS Foundation. This is his story.

Wayne Lotter's profile.

If you would like to explore other profiles on our dedicated website - assassination.globalinitiative.net. Please help us mark the death anniversaries by using the hashtag #AssassinationWitness

Download the free Faces of Assassination e-book

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

In this episode, we will be hearing about how the illegal wildlife trade, which is worth billions of dollars annually, is driven by demand in Asia and serviced by well-organized transnational criminal networks. But we will also hear about the dangers, threats and sometime murders that conservationist and environmental defenders suffer at the hands of these same criminal networks.

Presenter: Ana Paula Oliveira, Analyst at the Global Initiaitive Against Transnational Organized Crime

Guest: Mary Rice, the Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)

Profiles mentioned: Wayne Lotter

Reading: Out of Africa: How West and Central Africa have become the epicentre of ivory and pangolin scale trafficking to Asia (EIA Report)

Join the Global Initiatives Assassination Witness Campaign.

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In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed. It was hoped, would usher in a new age where the fundamental rights of every individual are universally protected.

To protect and respect those rights such as freedom of expression, protection of the environment, gender equality and women’s rights, human rights defenders play a crucial role. But because they defend these fundamental rights, they are also a constant threat of abuse, violence and even murder.

Presenter: Siria Gastelum Felix, the Emmy Award-winning Journalist and Director of the Resilience Fund at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Speakers:

Michelle Foley, Memorial Project Coordinator, Front Line Defenders

Juan Pappier, Americas Researcher, Human Rights Watch

Maureen Meyer, the Vice President for Programs and Director for Mexico and Migrant Rights at the Washington Office on Latin America.

Featured Profile: Edwin Dagua

Help keep their stories alive – by going to our website – assassination.globalinitiative.net, subscribe to our newsletter and this podcast series. Help us remember the death anniversaries, using our hashtag #AssassinationWitness.

Faces of Assassination e-Book

In this special episode of Faces of Assassination, Ana Paula speaks to international human rights lawyer and scholar Roxanna Altholz.

Roxanna was part of the international investigation into the murder of the indigenous enviromentalist campaigner, Berta Cáceres in Honduras in 2016.

Presenter: Ana Paula Oliveira, Analyst, Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime

Profile discussed: Berta Cáceres

Join the Global Initiatives Assassination Witness Campaign.

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Edwin Gregorio Dagua Ipia was just 28 when he was gunned down in the afternoon in the Huellas indigenous reserve in the Cauca region of south-west Colombia. Dagua was killed by FARC dissidents for speaking out against armed groups, coca cultivation and illegal mining.

Dagua was the 25th indigenous leader to be killed in 2018.

Edwin Gregorio Dagua Ipia profile.

If you would like to explore other profiles you can download a free e-book here. Please help us mark the death anniversaries by using the hashtag #AssassinationWitness

Download the free Faces of Assassination e-book

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

What happens when a prominent individual like Ján Kuciak or Daphne Caruana Galizia are murdered and those involved are at the very highest levels of society? How do law enforcement go about investigating such high-profile murder cases? And how do you catch the mastermind?

Presenter: Siria Gastelum Felix, the Emmy Award-winning Journalist and Director of the Resilience Fund at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Speakers:

Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur in Extrajudicial Killing

Steve Carmody, the head of investigation of Wildlife Justice Commission

Judge Antonio Balsamo, Prosecutor General of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation and Professor of Criminal law at the Faculty of Law of the LUMSA in Palermo, Italy.

Juan Francisco Sandoval, Head of the anti-impunity unit (Fiscalía Especializada Contra la Impunidad – FECI) within Guatemala’s Attorney General’s Office

Featured Profile: Ján Kuciak

Help keep their stories alive – by going to our website – assassination.globalinitiative.net, subscribe to our newsletter and this podcast series. Help us remember the death anniversaries, using our hashtag #AssassinationWitness.

Faces of Assassination e-Book

Ján Kuciak wasn't a revolutionary type of person - he was mild mannered with a peaceful personality but despite this he stood out as a rare Investigative journalist.

He was investigating the influence of the Italian mafia in Slovakia, in particular the Italian ’Ndrangheta, and their possible links to the then Slovakian Prime Minister.

On February 21st, 2018, Ján and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, were gunned down in their house by three hired hitmen, they were both 27 years old.

Ján Kuciak profile

Faces of Assassination

If you would like to explore other profiles you can download a free e-book here. Please help us mark the death anniversaries by using the hashtag #AssassinationWitness

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

En este episodio especial Siria Gastelum Félix habla con Bertha Zúñiga, la hija de Berta Cáceres quien fue asesinada por ser ambientalista y defensora de los derechos de los indígenas. Analizamos la vida de su madre como activista por la que recibió reconocimiento internacional, hablamos de las causas por las que luchó y finalmente de cómo su asesinato cambió Honduras.

Esta entrevista también está disponible en inglés.

Presenter: Siria Gastelum Felix, the Emmy Award-winning Journalist and Director of the Resilience Fund at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Berta's story.

Berta Cáceres Profile

Help keep their stories alive – by going to our website – assassination.globalinitiative.net, subscribe to our newsletter and this podcast series. Help us remember the death anniversaries, using our hashtag #AssassinationWitness.

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

In this special episode Siria Gastelum Felix speaks with Bertha Zúñiga, the daughter of the murdered environmentalist and indigenous rights campaigner Berta Cáceres. We discuss her mothers life as an activist, for which she received international recognition, the issues she fought for and against, and finally how her murder changed Honduras.

This interview is also available in Spanish.

Presenter: Siria Gastelum Felix, the Emmy Award-winning Journalist and Director of the Resilience Fund at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Berta's story.

Berta Cáceres Profile

Help keep their stories alive – by going to our website – assassination.globalinitiative.net, subscribe to our newsletter and this podcast series. Help us remember the death anniversaries, using our hashtag #AssassinationWitness.

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Berta Cáceres led the indigenous Lenca community in Río Blanco in the fight against the Agua Zarca Dam. Her success led to international recognition as she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015.

But Berta's success also led to years of harassment, death threats, and attempts on Berta's life. On 2nd March 2016, two gunmen broke into her house in La Esperanza, Honduras, and murdered her.

Help us remember the death anniversaries, using our hashtag #AssassinationWitness

Berta Cáceres profile - is one of a number of environmental defenders profiled in the book – Amit Jethwa, Chut Wutty, Marcelo Rivera and others. They are four of the HUNDREDS that are killed each year for trying to protect indigenous communities and the environment in which they live and rely on, and speaking out against Organized Crime and Corruption.

Faces of Assassination e-book

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Resilience Fund

The battle to protect the environment from systemic destruction by predatory industries and organized crime has raged for generations. And there are those for who protecting biodiversity or ancestral lands has been a life’s work – they are called environmental defenders. 

But this fight can lead to accusations of acting on behalf of hostile foreign interests, social stigma, prison, physical violence and even murder. According to Global Witness, 212 environmental defenders were murdered in 2019 – that’s an average of FOUR a week.

In this podcast, we’re discussing the role of environmental defenders, why they are being targeted, what is being done right now to combat it; and what can be done to make further change going forward.

Presenter: Siria Gastelum Felix, the Emmy Award-winning Journalist and Director of the Resilience Fund at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Speakers:

Rachel CoxCampaigner, Land and Environmental Defenders, Global Witness

Liliana Jauregui, Senior Expert Environmental Justice from IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands

Billy Kyte, former Global Witness Campaigner, Land and Environmental Defenders, Independent Consultant on Conflict Mitigation and Peace Building and member of GI network of experts

Maiara Folly, Co-founder Plataforma CIPÓ, Brazil expert

Judy Pasimio, Coordinator LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)

Featured Profile: Berta Cáceres

Help keep their stories alive – by going to our website – assassination.globalinitiative.net, subscribe to our newsletter and this podcast series. Help us remember the death anniversaries, using our hashtag #AssassinationWitness.

Faces of Assassination e-Book

In the Malaysian state of Sarawak, land-related tussles between local communities and large companies have been going on for decades. Stories of harassment, violence and intimidation are not new, but no one ever thought it could cost someone their life. That is until the morning of 21 June 2016, when local activist Bill Kayong was shot dead at an intersection while on his way to work.

See other profiles at assassination.globalinitiative.net

#AssassinationWitness

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

The life of a mediator is complicated and often very dangerous, they find themselves placed between two sides that are fundamentally opposed to one another, with the difficult task of finding common ground in which to build a compromise and forge a new relationship without conflict.

In the podcast today we’re going to be discussing the role of mediators, the particular role of women in mediation, but most importantly, why are both men and women mediators are at risk, what is being done right now to combat it; and what can be done to make further change going forward.

Presenter: Siria Gastelum Felix, the Emmy Award-winning Journalist and Director of the Resilience Fund at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Speakers:

Roegchanda Pascoe, Chairperson of the Manenberg Safety Forum (MSF) and the Western Cape United Safety Front

Yvette Chesson-Wureh, from the Liberian-based Angie Brooks International Centre

Marcus McAllister, International Trainer & Implementation Specialist at Cure Violence Global

Featured Profile: Bill Kayong

Help keep their stories alive – by going to our website – assassination.globalinitiative.net, subscribe to our newsletter and this podcast series. Help us remember the death anniversaries, using our hashtag #AssassinationWitness.

Faces of Assassination e-Book

This is the Faces of Assassination Podcast from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

On the 15th of June 2020, the GI launched the Assassination Witness campaign to stamp out criminal organisations worldwide and seek justice for victims across the globe. Over the coming months we will mark the anniversaries of those who gave their lives fighting organized crime in their communities – environmental campaigns, gang mediators, journalists and more.

In this introduction episode Siria Gastelum Felix is joined by the Director of the Global Initiative, Mark Shaw about what the #AssassinationWitness campaign is and why it is important.

Explore the profiles and sign up to our newsletter our dedicated website.

The Faces of Assassination e-book

On this episode of Faces of Assassination, Siria Gastelum Felix will be discussing the assassination of journalists.

625 journalists over the past 20 years that have been murdered for their reporting and investigations into organized crime and corruption.

Why do journalists find themselves at risk; what has been done to combat it; and what needs to be done to protect this valuable component of free speech.

Presenter: Siria Gastelum Felix, the Emmy Award-winning Journalist and Director of the Resilience Fund at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

Speakers:

Guilherme Canela Godoi – who is currently heading the global unit on freedom of expression and safety of journalists at UNESCO

Frank Smyth, the Senior Advisor for journalist security at the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Pauline Adès-Mével – Editor-in-chief / Spokeswoman at Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Andrew Caruana Galizia – co-founder of the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation and son of journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia

Profiles mentioned in the podcast are:

Together we will continue to keep their stories alive – so please go to our website – assassination.globalinitiative.net, subscribe to our newsletter and this podcast series. Help us remember the death anniversaries, using our hashtag #AssassinationWitness.

Faces of Assassination e-Book

On the 16th January 2019, the investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale Divela was assassinated by two gunmen on the streets of Accra in Ghana. This is his story.

Ahmed Divela, Faces of Assassination profile