The office of the United Nations in Brazil has issued a statement condemning the latest killing of a member of Movimento dos Trabalhadores Ruais Sem Terra (MST), which represents landless workers in rural areas of Brazil. The statement also called on the authorities to take action to enable human rights defenders (HRDs) to continue their peaceful human rights work.
On the evening of Sunday 23 April, 51 year old Silvino Nunes Gouveia was at home in Assentamento Liberdade, Vale do Rio Doce, in Minas Gerais, when he was called to the door of his house. When he went out, he was shot multiple times and died instantly. According to local media reports family members have stated that Silvino had received numerous threats because of his work defending the land rights of the community.
Silvino was the regional coordinator of MST in an area, where there are more than 1,200 families living in 5 camps. Members of the local community blocked traffic, in and out of the area, in a peaceful protest at the killing.
The United Nations statement underscored the importance of the work carried out by HRDs in promoting the development and realisation of human rights in the country. “It is necessary that state institutions guarantee all the conditions for carrying out this work safely, in any community and, in any part of the country. The United Nations system in Brazil reiterates its willingness to follow up on this issue. “