The delegation expressed solidarity with Brazilian activists, demanded urgent agrarian reform in Brazil and denounced crimes and attacks against activists.
On 25 January 2013, Cícero Guedes, leader of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) (1991, Brazil), one of Brazil’s largest social movements, was shot dead in Rio de Janeiro by unknown gunmen. This murder was just one in an escalating number of attacks against Brazilian activists involved in a struggle for agrarian reform. According to the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) (1991, Brazil), the number of threatened activists in the country had spiked from 125 to 347 from 2010 to 2011.
The situation was particularly grave in the state of Pará, which according to a 2005 fact-finding report of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) accounts for 40% of total deforestation in Brazil and has both the highest rates of slavery and threatened human rights defenders in the country. The CPT revealed that 12 out of the 29 assassinations of Brazilian rural activists in 2011 happened in Pará. MST explained that the climate of impunity is so rampant in Pará that not a single person has ever been convicted for these crimes.
Responding to these attacks against social activists in Brazil, an international Right Livelihood Award delegation went to Marabá, Pará, in April 2013. The delegation included Laureates Angie Zelter, representing Trident Ploughshares (2001, UK), Raúl Montenegro (2004, Argentina), and Right Livelihood Award Board member Marianne Andersson.
As part of their visit, the delegation spoke at a public debate on the problem of impunity for human rights violators in the University of Pará, Marabá on April 2nd. They also participated in a two-day “popular jury” that examined the cases of two prominent MST leaders, Marisa Do Espirito Santo Da Silva and José Claudio Ribeiro Da Silva, who were brutally murdered in 2011. The delegation expressed solidarity with Brazilian activists, demanded urgent agrarian reform in Brazil and denounced crimes and attacks against activists. Several articles were published after the mission, which testifies of its success:
- Piden detener matanza de líderes sociales – La Hora, Guatemala – 29 September 2014 (Spanish)
- Nobel Alternativo pede aos presidenciáveis medidas contra mortes no campo – Brasil de Fato – 1 October 2014 (Portuguese)
- Ganhadores do Nobel Alternativo exigem que presidenciáveis expliquem como terminarão com a matança de líderes sociais – Adital – 3 October 2014 (Portuguese)
Read the daily reports of the solidarity visit, written by Angie Zelter of from Trident Ploughshares: