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Brazil

    October 03, 2019

    In response to the operation by the Civil Police and the Rio de Janeiro Public Prosecutor’s Office that resulted in the arrest of four people and a warrant being issued against former Military Police Ronnie Lessa, who is already in prison accused of carrying out the killing of human rights defender Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Silva, Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil, said:

    “We are struck by the existence of a network of people involved in the killing of a human rights defender such as Marielle Franco, who worked for the common good, to benefit the citizens of Rio de Janeiro. We continue to follow the development of the investigations and remain deeply concerned about the delay in identifying who ordered the crime. We hope that everyone involved in the killing will be identified and brought to justice.”

    September 27, 2019

    Twelve countries across Latin America and the Caribbean have signed the Escazú Agreement in a major victory for the environment and human rights that should inspire the rest of the region to follow suit, said Amnesty International.

    Argentina, Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, St. Lucia, and Uruguay all signed the treaty at the first opportunity today as the UN General Assembly started in New York, while the Dominican Republic and Haiti have also committed to signing in the coming hours.

    “The leadership of the dozen countries who signed the Escazú Agreement today should serve as inspiration for the rest of the region and beyond,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International. “We urge all other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to promptly follow their example for the survival and wellbeing of current and future generations.” 

    September 03, 2019

    Brazilian authorities must investigate and prosecute those responsible for starting illegal fires in the Amazon to prevent further destruction of the rainforest, Amnesty International said today as it launched an online campaign to pressure President Jair Bolsonaro and his government to step up protection of Indigenous territories and environmental reserves.

    “The devastating fires in the Amazon are the symptom of a larger crisis of illegal deforestation and land seizures. On paper Brazil has strong laws to protect Indigenous territories and environmental reserves. Yet President Bolsonaro has actively undermined those protections, resulting in the devastation we see today,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “While the President has now signed a decree temporarily banning fires for land clearance, this does not eliminate the potential for further fires because he has taken little action to deter or prevent the illegal deforestation and land seizures that drive them.

    August 22, 2019

    Responding to the news of the wildfires that have been raging in the Amazon rainforest for several weeks, Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

    “The responsibility to stop the wildfires that have been raging in the Amazon rainforest for several weeks now lies squarely with President Bolsonaro and his government. They must change their disastrous policy of opening up the rainforest for destruction, which is what has paved the way for this current crisis.

    “Earlier this year Amnesty International documented illegal land invasions and arson attacks near Indigenous territories in the Amazon, including Rondônia state where many of the fires are raging.

    May 23, 2019

    On Tuesday, Amnesty International launched the ‘Brazil for Everyone’ campaign, presenting its concerns and recommendations for guaranteeing, protecting and promoting human rights in the country five months after President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration began.

    The organisation’s positions have been addressed to Bolsonaro in an open letter that the executive director of Amnesty International Brazil, Jurema Werneck, and the Amnesty International Americas director, Erika Guevara-Rosas, intend to deliver to the president personally in Brasilia, where they will be seeking an audience with government representatives until Thursday 23 May. On Monday afternoon, the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a joint statement saying they were open to dialogue with Amnesty International.

    May 21, 2019

    On 21 May, a delegation comprising the executive director of Amnesty International Brazil, Jurema Werneck, and the Amnesty International Americas director, Erika Guevara-Rosas, will visit Brasilia, where they will attempt to deliver to President Bolsonaro and other representatives of the government a letter setting out these concerns, together with recommendations for guaranteeing, promoting and protecting human rights in the country.

    “Some of the measures adopted or proposed by this government over the past five months raise many concerns,” said Jurema Werneck. “They could increase the risk of homicides with firearms. They legitimise a public security policy based on the use of lethal force. They violate the rights of indigenous peoples and Quilombolas. They base drug policy on punitive and ineffective practices. They could increase monitoring of NGOs without justification. They deny victims of the military regime the right to truth, justice and reparations. All of this is accompanied by an overtly anti-human-rights rhetoric which only adds to Amnesty International’s concerns about the human rights situation in Brazil.”

    May 07, 2019
    Illegal land seizures and logging on the rise in Indigenous territories in Brazil’s Amazon  Recent reductions in government monitoring aggravate the risk of conflict Looming dry season set to intensify pressure on traditional lands 

    There is an imminent risk of violent clashes in Brazil’s Amazon region unless the government protects Indigenous peoples’ traditional lands from increasing illegal land seizures and logging by armed intruders, Amnesty International warned today.

    Amnesty International recently visited three different Indigenous territories in northern Brazil where illegal intruders had begun or expanded efforts to seize land and/or cut down trees. Indigenous leaders told the organization that they had received death threats for defending their traditional lands. They also fear new intrusions in the dry season (May/June to October/November) when easier physical access to forests facilitates clearance and burning.

    May 06, 2019

    Amnesty International sent an open letter to the heads of state of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay today in response to their recent statement on the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights.

    In the letter, Amnesty International affirmed that the system must be safeguarded and that it deeply regrets that the governments of the aforementioned countries want to make the operation of the inter-American regional mechanism subservient to their own interests, in a way that threatens the rights of victims of human rights violations.

    “From Puerto Rico to Honduras and Venezuela, last week we witnessed with alarm the repressive responses to the demands of citizens who express themselves through protest. All countries in the region have to remember that they have a shared obligation to protect human rights,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    March 12, 2019

    Responding to reports that Brazilian police have arrested two men in Rio de Janeiro over the killing of human rights defender Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes on 14 March 2018, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “This week marks one year since Marielle Franco was brutally killed, in an attack which devastated the many communities whose rights she fought to defend. Marielle’s killing was a blatant attempt to silence a brave human rights defender, who had devoted her life to advocating for women, LGBTI people and black youth in Rio favelas.”

    “These arrests are the first sign of progress in an investigation that has barely moved in the year since the killings. We are calling for the Brazilian authorities to ensure that investigations are independent and impartial, and to bring all those responsible, including those who ordered the crime, to justice in fair trials.”

    “There is no better way to honour Marielle Franco’s amazing legacy than by committing to protect human rights defenders and ensuring they can safely continue their vital work.”

    March 11, 2019

    One year on from the killing of the human rights defender and Rio de Janeiro city councillor Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes, Brazilian authorities are still failing to provide their families and society with adequate answers, and their inability to identify those responsible and bring them to justice continues to put other human rights defenders at risk, said Amnesty International today.

    “After a year of investigation, the Brazilian authorities’ alarming inability to solve the killing of Marielle Franco sends a message that attacks against human rights defenders will go unpunished,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    “The authorities that took office following last year’s elections must bring all those responsible for ordering and carrying out the killing to justice and show that attacks of this nature will not be tolerated in Brazil.”

    November 26, 2018

    Anielle Franco is an English teacher, former competitive volleyball player, parent of an energetic toddler, and a powerful grassroots advocate for the rights of black women in Brazil.

    She also happens to be the sister of renowned Brazilian women human rights defender and politician Marielle Franco, who was murdered in Rio de Janeiro earlier this year. Jackie Hansen, Amnesty’s Gender Rights Campaigner, reports on Anielle’s human rights work including her ongoing campaign for justice for Marielle.

    October 29, 2018

    Reacting to the election of Jair Bolsonaro and Hamilton Mourão as president and vice president of Brazil, Amnesty International said today:

    “The president-elect has campaigned with an openly anti-human-rights agenda and frequently made discriminatory statements about different groups of society. His election as Brazil´s president could pose a huge risk to Indigenous Peoples and quilombolas, traditional rural communities, LGBTI people, black youth, women, activists and civil society organizations, if his rhetoric is transformed in public policy” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    Bolsonaro’s campaign promises include loosening gun control laws and granting prior authorization for law enforcement officials to kill. These proposals, if adopted, would worse the already dire context of lethal violence in Brazil, where there are 63,000 homicides each year, more than 70% of them from firearms, and police commit approximately 5,000 homicides a year, many of which are indeed extrajudicial executions.

    June 18, 2018

    By Monica Benício

     

    This op-ed was written by Monica Benício, the widow of Marielle Franco, a courageous women human rights defender who was murdered in Brazil in March 2018. It was originally published in Portuguese in O Globo on June 12th, to mark Brazilian Valentine's Day.

     

    April 18, 2018

    My sister in struggle Marielle Franco was shot to death on March 14.

    I was abroad, working alongside other brave women who campaign against police killings of black youth in Brazil, Jamaica and the U.S. We had joined forces and were planning to make our voices heard in order to stop the constant stream of killings committed by some of those who are supposed to protect us.

    The news hit me hard. I suddenly felt dizzy and could not stop shaking. I could barely contain my anger and my sadness.

    Click here to read the rest of the article at the Huffington Post. 
    March 15, 2018

    The targeted assassination of Marielle Franco, a 38-year-old human rights defender and city councilor known for denouncing police abuses and extrajudicial executions, is a sickening development that must be fully investigated, said Amnesty International today.

    Marielle was shot dead in Rio de Janeiro’s Estacio neighborhood on Wednesday night. Her driver was also killed and a press officer was injured in the attack.

    “This a chilling development and is yet another example of the dangers that human rights defenders face in Brazil. As a member of Rio de Janeiro’s State Human Rights Commission, Marielle worked tirelessly to defend the rights of black women and young people in the favelas and other marginalized communities,” said Jurema Werneck, Amnesty International’s Brazil director.

    “The Brazilian authorities must ensure a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into this tragic killing. The State must protect witnesses and survivors, identify the motive for Marielle’s murder and bring the culprits to justice. The government cannot stand by and let human rights defenders be killed with impunity.”

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