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The rise of robots in manufacturing in Southeast Asia is likely to fuel modern-day slavery as workers who end up unemployed due to automation face abuses competing for a shrinking pool of low-paid jobs in a “race to the bottom”. Especially, the workers in Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines — at least 137 million people — risk losing their jobs because of the automation in the next two decades. Those workers are more vulnerable to workplace abuses as they jostle for fewer jobs at lower wages.
A new Global Witness report, ‘Deadly Environment’, shows there has been a surge in the killing of activists protecting land rights and the environment over the past decade with three times as many deaths in 2012 compared to the previous 10 years. Between 2002 and 2013, at least 908 activists were killed in 35 countries with only 10 convictions. The most deadly countries in the scope of the report were Brazil (448 since 2002), Honduras (109), Philippines (67), Peru (58) and Thailand (16). The deaths are linked to activism against a range of activities including illegal logging, cattle ranching, soy bean farming, mining and the building of hydroelectric dams.