Embargoed until 30 October 2014 00:01 GMT
The fourth anniversary of the killing of an outspoken community leader in Maranhão state must be a wake-up call to the Brazilian government to urgently address increasing violence in the region, said Amnesty International today.
Flaviano Pinto Neto, leader of the Charco community in north-east Brazil, was shot dead on 30 October 2010. In April 2011, four people were charged with the killing but have not yet been brought to trial.
“This shocking case is emblematic of the serious injustices that befall human rights defenders in Brazil. By failing to investigate the death of Flaviano Pinto promptly, thoroughly and impartially, the Brazilian government is denying justice to his family and effectively giving the green-light for the murder of other activists,” said Renata Neder, Human Rights Advisor at Amnesty International Brazil.
The state of Maranhão is plagued with land conflicts and violence against rural workers. This year alone, five community leaders have been killed in struggles over land.