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07 Jul 2011: Brazil Offers Protection for
Activists Targeted with Death Threats

The Brazilian government says it will provide security protection for at least 131 people threatened with murder over land use disputes in the Amazon rainforest after a series of killings in recent months. Those
José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva
Via Amazoom Press
José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva
receiving death threats — including environmentalists, human rights activists, and local farmers defending their land against ranchers — will receive various levels of protection, from regular visits to 24-hour armed security, an official with the government’s human rights secretariat said. While violent disputes over land and natural resources are common in the Amazon, calls for a government response have grown since four people were killed last month. The violence attracted international attention in May when activist José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Maria do Espírito Santo, were gunned down by unknown assailants a day after Brazil’s lower house of congress voted to ease forest protection laws. The couple had spent more than a decade fighting illegal logging, ranchers, and charcoal producers. After their deaths, activists provided the Brazilian government a list of 207 people who had received death threats, including 42 who had already been murdered.

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