Brazil : Killing of Mr. Raimundo dos Santos Rodrigues

Appel urgent
es fr


BRA 001 / 0915 / OBS 071
September 8, 2015

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Brazil.

Brief description of the information :

The Observatory has been informed by Justicia Global about the attack against Mr. Raimundo dos Santos Rodrigues and his wife, which resulted in the death of the former. They were both members of the Advisory Council of the Biological Reserve of Gurupi (Conselho Consultivo da Reserva Biológica do Gurupi – ReBio Gurupi) [1]. Mr. Raimundo dos Santos Rodrigues had been denouncing environmental crimes committed by landowners and logging industries, such as the illegal logging in Pindaré Valley (Vale do Pindaré) in Maranhão, for which he received numerous threats. Raimundo dos Santos Rodrigues was one of the advisors for the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation ( Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade – ICMBio), which works on environmental crimes and defends the Amazon biodiversity.

According to the information received, on August 25, 2015, Mr. Raimundo dos Santos Rodrigues and his wife were ambushed while returning to their home in Bom Jardim, in the state of Maranhão. Mr. dos Santos Rodrigues was shot twelve times and also attacked with a machete and died as a result of the injuries he sustained. The widow was also shot and she continues to receive treatment at the Municipal Hospital of Açailândia in Maranhão.

The attack follows a series of death threats which Raimundo dos Santos Rodrigues reported to the National Agrarian Ombudsman (Ouvidoria Nacional Agrária) in November 2014. However, no action was taken.

Two other members of the Advisory Council of ReBio Gurupi have also been receiving threats from loggers for over a year. The two namesare allegedly on a list of members of the Advisory Council who are targets for killing, which also included Mr. dos Santos Rodrigues.

The killing of Raimundo dos Santos Rodrigues and attempted killing of his wife occurred in a context in which land and environmental rights defenders, in particular indigenous rights defenders, in Brazil are increasingly at risk as a result of their human rights work.

According to the Comissão Pastoral da Terra, in the first semester of 2015, 23 people were killed in land conflicts ; only one of those deaths did not take place in the Amazon region. In Maranhão, during 2014, five human rights defenders were killed, five suffered attempted killings and 51 were threatened to death. In 2015, three other human rights defenders were killed, besides Mr. Dos Santos Rodrigues and three suffered attempted killings.

The Observatory condemns in the strongest terms the murder of Mr. Raimundo dos Santos Rodrigues and attempted killing of his wife, as well as the death threats against other members of the Advisory Council of ReBio Gurupi which seem to be related to their human rights activities. It urges the authorities to adopt measures to ensure the effective protection of human rights defenders at risk in Brazil, and notably land rights defenders, and to conduct an immediate, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the above-mentioned events.

Actions requested :

Please write to the authorities in Brazil, urging them to :

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Raimundo dos Santos’ widow, of all ReBio Gurupi members and human rights defenders in Brazil ;

ii. Carry out an immediate, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the above-mentioned events in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law ;

iii. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially :
- Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels” ;
- Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Brazil.

Addresses :

· H.E. Ms. Dilma Rousseff, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Palácio do Planalto, Praça dos Três Poderes, 70150-900, Brasilia DF, Brazil.
· Mr. Gilberto José Spier Vargas,Secretary for Human Rights, Secretariat for Human Rights of the Presidency of the Republic, Setor Comercial Sul - B, Quadra 9, Lote C, Edificio Parque Cidade Corporate, Torre A, 10º andar, Brasília, Distrito Federal, Brasil - CEP : 70308-200. Email : ; Twitter : @DHumanosBrasil
· Ms. Izabella Mônica Vieira Teixeira, State Minister of the Environment, Ministry of the Environment, Esplanada dos Ministérios - Bloco B, CEP 70068-900 - Brasília/DF, Brazil. FAX : 2028-1756. Email : Twitter : @mmeioambiente
· H.E. Ms. Regina Maria Cordeiro Dunlop, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations in Geneva, Chemin Louis-Dunant 15 (6th Floor), 1202 Geneva, Switzerland. Fax : +41 22 910 07 51, Email :
· H.E. Mr. André Mattoso Maia Amado, Ambassador, Embassy of Brazil in Brussels, Avenue Louise, 350 B-1050, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Fax : +32 2 640 81 34, Email :

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Brazil in your respective country.

Paris-Geneva, September 8, 2015

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

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