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From 2002 to 2014, 477 environmental and social leaders were murdered in Brazil, which makes it the most dangerous country in the world to be an activist, according to information by La Via Campesina.
Particularly in 2014, 36 Brazilian leaders were murdered and from 2005 to 2014, the conflicts for land resulted in the murder of 328, as reported by La Via Campesina with data of the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT).
This was one of the issues discussed at the CPT´s 4th National Congress that took place from July 12 to 17 in Porto Velho municipality, capital city of Rondonia State, in the framework of the celebrations of the Commission´s 40th anniversary.
According to La Via Campesina, the Congress participants discussed urgent actions to face the violence against rural workers “caused by the increasing concentration of lands in the hands of a few owners and agribusinesses, two features of the current Brazilian territorial situation”.
The CPT was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1991, also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”, due to its sustained campaign in favor of social justice and the respect for the human rights of small farmers and landless peasants of Brazil.
In April, 2015, a report by international organization Global Witness titled “How many more?” exposed an increase in the number of activists murdered, especially from indigenous communities. The report stated that in 2014 at least 116 environmental and land defenders were murdered: most in Brazil (29), Colombia (25), Philippines (15) and Honduras (12).
Of them, 47 belonged to indigenous groups. Also, last year, the number of murders related to hydropower projects grew exponentially, and conflicts for land were the background of most of the deaths.
Finally, another important data taken from the Global Witness report is that there is little information available to the public that confirms who the people responsible for the murders are. However, the organization found that of the well-documented cases, ten involved paramilitary groups, eight involved the police, five involved private security officers, and three involved the Army.
La oposición a la minería debe entenderse como la lucha por los derechos que esa actividad no respeta, pues “cada derecho que se le otorga a una empresa, es un derecho que se le resta a una comunidad”, asegura el coordinador del Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina (OCMAL), César Padilla.
En Argentina un joven está desaparecido por la represión estatal a una protesta mapuche; en Guatemala indígenas denuncian la violación del Convenio 169 de la OIT. Viajamos también a Costa Rica, Honduras y Venezuela, por otras demandas y agresiones a los pueblos.
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