News

Aggressions against human rights defenders in Colombia; January – March 2021

Between January and March 2021, the Information System on Aggressions against Human Rights Defenders – SIADDHH – of HRD Memorial partners El Programa Somos Defensores confirmed 180 aggressions against human rights defenders in Colombia. That is to say, an average of two aggressions per day were committed through different types of violence: assassinations, threats, attacks, arbitrary detentions, prosecutions, forced disappearances and theft of information.

 

Threats are the aggression that reported the highest number of incidents (125), with 9% more than in the same period in 2020. Attacks (16 events) showed an increase of 14% (2 more events). Also confirmed were: assassinations (28 events), forced disappearances (5 events), arbitrary detentions (3 events), theft of information (2 events) and prosecutions (1 event).

 

Every 3 days a human rights defender was killed in the country. The leadership role that registers the highest number of assassinations is indigenous peoples rights defenders, followed by peasant and community leaders.

 

Download the bulletin here (in Spanish)

Oral Statement Delivered on Behalf of the HRD Memorial during the General Dialogue at the 46th Human Rights Council

ORAL STATEMENT

ITEM 3: GENERAL DIALOGUE

UN Human Rights Council

Forty-sixth Session

22 February-23 March 2021

 

Madam President,

We would like to thank the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders for drawing attention to the killings of those who defend human rights.

I deliver this statement on behalf of a coalition of 10 organisations1 who have been recording the increasing yearly toll. At least 331 individuals were killed in 2020 alone for daring to stand up for human rights. As in every previous year, impunity awaits the vast majority of those responsible. Most killings are recorded in Colombia, Philippines, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, Afghanistan and Brazil. Around 70% of those killed were fighting to protect their land, territory and environment, many of them Indigenous people. Others were killed in contexts of conflict and repression. As the Special Rapporteur also stresses, these killings are usually preceded by threats and are preventable.2

We invite you to read their stories on the HRD Memorial website. Each one of their deaths is an indictment of the failure of States to live up to their commitment to uphold human rights and create a safe and enabling environment for those who defend them. These individuals should be at the forefront of our protection efforts.

We join the Special Rapporteur in urging states to commit to a true implementation of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and:

Recognise and applaud the key role played by human rights defenders, and stop smearing and stigmatizing them;

Take all necessary steps to counter the prevailing impunity in these cases and bring about real justice;

In consultation with defenders, design individual and collective protection programmes that address their needs;

Ensure that those who defend human rights are enabled to do so in a safe environment without fear of threats, attacks or reprisals.

Thank you

Delivered by Lisa Maracani, Amnesty International, on behalf of the HRD Memorial.

Watch the full session and statement on video (at 1h:56min) here.

HRD Memorial 2020 – overview

On 11 February 2021, Front Line Defenders launched its Global Analysis 2020 report on the situation of human rights defenders (HRDs) around the world, detailing the physical assaults, defamation campaigns, digital security threats, judicial harassment, and gendered attacks faced by HRDs, especially women and gender non-conforming human rights defenders.

The work of the HRD Memorial project was profiled in the report, including the names of the 331 HRDs who were killed in 25 different countries for carrying out their peaceful human rights work in 2020. of these 331 HRDs, 26% were working specifically on the rights of indigenous peoples, despite indigenous peoples only making up approximately 6% of the world’s population. The most at risk group were defenders working on land, environmental or indigenous peoples rights, who account for 69% of the HRDs killed.

Killings took place in 25 countries in 2020:

Afghanistan – 17 HRDs

Bolivia – 1 HRD

Brazil – 16 HRDs

Canada – 1 HRD

Chile – 4 HRDs

China – 1 HRD

Colombia – 177 HRDs*

Costa Rica – 1 HRD

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – 1 HRD

Guatemala – 15 HRDs

Honduras – 20 HRDs

India – 6 HRDs

Indonesia – 2 HRDs

Iraq – 8 HRDs

Libya – 1 HRD

Mexico – 19 HRDs

Nepal – 1 HRD

Nicaragua – 2 HRDs

Pakistan – 1 HRD

Peru – 8 HRDs

Philippines (the) – 25 HRDs

South Africa – 1 HRD

Sweden – 1 HRD

Syria – 1 HRD

Thailand – 1 HRD

* Additional cases from the last quarter in Colombia are still in the process of verification.

Why are so many HRDs killed in Colombia?

Following the signing of the peace agreement (November 2016) and the demobilization of the FARC and in the absence of any, or at best limited, state presence or apparatus, new and existing armed groups assumed control of territories once controlled by the disbanded groups. Since 2017, these warring factions have competed to control the territories in pursuit of their illicit economic and trafficking activities. HRDs have been left exposed by the failure of the Colombian government to implement crucial elements of the peace agreement. Political leaders have stigmatised defenders who highlight the situation while in some cases the authorities gave withdrawn protection measures from leaders at risk. It has been left to HRDs to push for the implementation of crucial elements of the peace accords and to promote crop substitution programmes to their communities. These defenders, alongside those defending land, environment and indigenous peoples’ rights, are routinely targeted by defenders. Last year saw the added dimension of these armed groups violently imposing quarantines, mobility restrictions and forcing communities to comply as a means to better exert their control and limit the abilities of those opposing their illicit activities. The State’s response was to increase the military’s presence in these territories, which has been counter-productive and ultimately has increased the levels of violence and risk for communities and HRDs. Military personnel have also been denounced for their disproportionate use of force against civilians and HRDs.

Sirley Yesenia Muñoz Murillo from Programa Somos Defensores, Colombia comments at the Global Analysis 2020 report launch press conference.

Note on defenders killed in Canada, Pakistan and Sweden

2020 saw the shooting dead of one Baloch rights defender, Shaheena Shaheen*, in Pakistan, and the death in suspicious circumstances of 2 more Baloch rights defenders, Sajid Hussain and Karima Baloch. Both Hussain and Baloch were living in exile in Sweden and Canada respectively, after receiving threats to their lives in Pakistan as a result of their activism. Sajid, who had been living in Sweden since 2017, disappeared on 2 March and his body was found on 23 April in the Fyris river, north of Uppsala, Sweden. Similarly, Baloch disappeared in Toronto, Canada, on 20 December and her body was found on 21 December in a body of water off Toronto Island. While authorities in both Sweden and Canada have ruled that these deaths were accidental, the families and the human rights community in Balochistan are calling for more thorough investigations into these two drownings. *Shaheena Shaheen was shot dead in her home in Balochistan by her husband of five months, who reportedly wanted her to stop her activism and disapproved of the public profile her work brought her.

Human Rights Defenders – Profile pages

Over the course of the coming weeks and months an individual profile page for each of the HRDs killed in 2020 will be added to the HRD Memorial website.

This is a space dedicated to their memory. To remember and celebrate their human rights work.

If you would like to write one of these HRD Memorial profiles, please contact the HRD Memorial Project Coordinator, Michelle Foley michelle@frontlinedefenders.org

 

 

Inauguration of HRD Memorial monument in Iveagh Gardens, Dublin, Ireland

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Mary Lawlor and Front Line Defenders Executive Director Andrew Anderson inaugurate a Memorial monument in Iveagh Gardens to commemorate the lives of human rights defenders who have been killed because of their peaceful work.

On Wednesday, 09 December 2020, International Human Rights Defenders Day, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Mary Lawlor and Front Line Defenders Executive Director Andrew Anderson inaugurated the Human Rights Defender Memorial monument, dedicated to those who have been killed because of their peaceful work defending the rights of others.

The Memorial provides a physical space in the heart of Dublin city to recognise the important work of human rights defenders around the world, and pay tribute to the many brave and inspirational human rights defenders who have been silenced.

Designed by Grafton Architects, the monument is an Ogham garden, comprised of five standing stones, etched with ancient Irish Ogham script, each representing a native Irish tree. The space is enclosed by a crafted metal screen, on which are plaques, bearing the words of those who gave their life for their causes, and a bench encourages passers-by to sit and think about these brave individuals, who stood their ground.

The plaques include the following words spoken by environmental and indigenous peoples rights defender Bety Cariño at a gathering of human rights defenders in Dublin Castle in February 2010. Two months later she was shot dead during a peaceful solidarity procession in Northern Oaxaca, Mexico.

Today we want to live another history: we are rebelling and we are saying enough is enough. Today and here, we want to say that they are afraid of us because we are not afraid of them, because despite their threats, despite their slander, despite their harassment, we continue to walk towards a sun which we think shines strongly”.

At the launch in Iveagh Gardens, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said: The Irish government is proud of its partnership with Front Line Defenders in supporting and promoting the work of human rights defenders. This memorial will represent a place where Irish people, and those who visit our shores, can come and pay tribute to human rights defenders worldwide who have lost their lives in the peaceful pursuit of human rights and equality for all.”

Executive Director of Front Line Defenders, Andrew Anderson spoke about the legacies of the defenders: “It is important to remember the peaceful defenders of human rights that the killers have tried to erase, but also to celebrate their lives and achievements. Natalya Estemirova, Floribert Chebeya and Bertha Caceres were murdered because they made a difference, and they continue to inspire a new generation of human rights defenders.”

UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor stated: Between 2015 and 2019 the UN documented the killing of 1323 human rights defenders in 64 countries. It is shocking and unacceptable that human rights defenders have been killed in almost a third of all member States of the United Nations.”

Özlem Dalkiran, a human rights defender from Turkey attended the unveiling and spoke about her colleague and friend Hrant Dink, a human rights defender and journalist who was shot outside the offices of the newspaper where he worked in 2007: By killing Hrant, they couldn’t kill his dreams. On the contrary they helped the seed he sowed to grow much faster.”

The Memorial monument in Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens is the physical form of the HRD Memorial project. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the launch in December 2020 was limited in scale. An international launch is planned for Spring 2021 which will include the voices of the HRD Memorial network partners.

REPRESIÓN CONTRA CODECA: LA PELIGROSA VOCACION DE EJERCER Y DEFENDER DERECHOS EN GUATEMALA

De acuerdo con un nuevo informe de CODECA 14 miembros de la organización han sido asesinados desde enero de 2018, en el contexto de una campaña de amenazas y ataques directos.

La represión es un mecanismo para frenar las luchas de los pueblos que defienden sus derechos frente a los intereses voraces de sectores de poder económico. En Guatemala CODECA es el movimiento social más perseguido y criminalizado en los últimos años.

En menos de dos años (de Enero 2018 a Septiembre 2019) 14 personas defensoras de DDHH integrantes de CODECA han sido asesinadas. En este mismo lapso de tiempo un total de 5748 personas defensoras han recibido diferentes tipos de agresiones. Los casos más frecuentes son criminalización,

amenazas colectivas a comunidades, amenazas directas a la integridad de defensores o sus familias y encarcelamientos. No se cuantifica en este documento las víctimas de las campañas de difamación y estigmatización, estos afectan masivamente a todas las familias organizadas en CODECA.

Todos los casos de represión contra CODECA siguen en la impunidad. Casi siempre, el sistema de justicia en Guatemala es utilizado por los sectores de poder para perseguir y criminalizar a defensores/as y organizaciones que defienden

DDHH. La respuesta estatal a la represión, siempre ha sido nula. El mismo gobierno central de Guatemala es uno de los actores que ha estigmatizado a las organizaciones y a las personas defensoras de DDHH. No hay voluntad política por

parte del gobierno de atender esta problemática.

Como mecanismo de defensa por parte de CODECA ante la represión, se han implementado diferentes estrategias, una de ellas es que se a seguido muy bien la consigna que dice “Ante mayor represión, mayor organización”. Se ha implementado una estrategia de comunicación mediante una red nacional

de comunicadores comunitarios que trabajan redes sociales y una Radio, Radio Victoria la Voz de los Pueblos. A nivel nacional también se ha articulado una red de defensores/as comunitarios para generar mecanismos de apoyo mutuo y respuestas ante la represión.

A pesar de la adversidad, CODECA ha logrado crecer a nivel nacional. Ha fortalecido su lucha por la defensa de los DDHH, la Madre Tierra y el Territorio. Ha avanzado cada vez más en el posicionamiento público de la propuesta de construcción del Estado Plurinacional y el Buen Vivir de los pueblos, mediante

un proceso de Asamblea Constituyente Popular y Plurinacional (ACPP). Una apuesta es lograr que los pueblos y sectores históricamente excluidos sean sujetos/as de derechos, y la Madre Tierra sea concebida y protegida como fuente de vida y no como recurso para ser explotado.

Two Years On, The Death of Santiago Maldonado Opens Old Wounds for Argentina

By Ligimat Perez for Front line Defenders

Santiago Maldonado disappeared while protesting for the right to land. Not for his own, since he was born into a prosperous family in the province of Buenos Aires. Two years ago, on the 1st of August 2017, he was protesting for the right of the Mapuche people to a piece of Argentinian Patagonia.

His body was only found months later, on October 17, but the actual circumstances of his death remain a mystery for many people. The judge in the case, Gustavo Lleral, found that there was no crime: “Maldonado drowned due to immersion in water aggravated by hypothermia. However he omitted to mention that the autopsy had also determined that this was a case of “violent death”.

Various witnesses and family members have stated that this was a case of forced disappearance. They have given evidence that the 28 year-old was arrested by members of the gendarmerie (a military police unit) near the Chabut River where he was seen for the last time during the police clamp down on the protest organised by the members of the “Pu Lof en Resistencia” community.

The case has caused a lot of controversy in Argentina, where it has awoken memories of the forced disappearances that took place during the military dictatorship and intensified the existing political polarisation in the country.

There have been numerous protests, some with the participation of former president Cristina Kirchner. There have also been discussions on television, editorials in the newspapers, posters and paintings with the picture of Santiago in the streets and on social media.

In no way could he be considered a typical human rights defender. El Lechuga, as he was known in the University of Plata where he studied fine art, was a handsome backpacker, who wore dreadlocks and made his living doing tattoos and craftwork. He was a nomad who got involved in many different causes, which inspired the murals he used to paint in the streets.

There was a theme connecting all the work that he did during his life: “He believed that we all have a right to a small piece of the earth where we were born”, says his older brother Sergio Maldonado, who has been leading the campaign and acts as the main spokesperson for the Maldonado family. Some of his murals speak of this, as well as his opposition to the use of pesticides and the rights of indigenous peoples to the land.

Maldonado, who since April 2017 was living in the Patagonian region of El Bolsón, had gone to Cuchamen where he joined the protest of the “Pu Lof en Resistencia” community. Since 2015 the Mapuche people have occupied a piece of the large lot of land bought by businessman Luciano Benetton, of the famous Italian clothing company. The Mapuche consider these their ancestral lands.

The land dispute between the Mapuche and Benetton has been going on for two decades. In 2002, a Mapuche community was accused of usurpation after returning to their ancestral land (625 hectares of the 900,000 that Benetton bought in four Argentine provinces). After unsuccessful attempts to resolve the conflict, they were evicted. The same story was repeated in 2007, and again in 2015.

These years of conflict have not paid off for the Mapuche. Their leaders have been persecuted both in Chile and in Argentina, they have been described as terrorists and their protest on both sides of the border has been criminalized and repressed with an excess of violence which has been the subject of repeated official complaints.

The same pattern of excessive use of force was repeated on the 1 August 2017 in Chubut when the police clamped down on the protest and when Santiago Maldonado was seen for the last time.

Although the death of Santiago remains a mystery, there is no doubt about the struggle that the Mapuche and many other indigenous peoples are fighting today in Latin America in the face of mega projects, monoculture and engineering works that threaten what remains of their ancestral lands.

According to figures from Front Line Defenders, in the last year alone approximately 250 people have been killed around the world for their work in defending the rights of indigenous peoples, the right to land and environmental rights.

“It’s not that Santiago’s life is worth more than another life. It’s just that if his death goes unpunished, you feel that it is setting a bad precedent”, says Sergio Maldonado. “In Argentina there has been a long fight to defend human rights and combat disappearances. This is a step backwards.”

India: Government contractors, lobbyists, and politicians, responsible for most RTI related killings in India. 82 activists killed for asking questions under the Right to Information Act

Author Ligimat Perez for Front Line Defenders

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In March 2018 Nanjibhai Sondharva, a villager in the Indian state of Gujarat, was killed for asking too many questions. Assailants dragged the 35-year-old from his car and clubbed and slashed him to death in Manekwada, a village in the Rajkot district of Gujarat.

Just over a year later, in May 2019, his teenage son Rajesh (pictured below) was killed for seeking justice for his father’s death. The science student was on his way home when a group of men ambushed and beat him to death.

The murder was the latest, brutal reminder of the dangers of using India’s right to information (RTI) law.

The law, passed in 2005, gives private citizens the right to demand written answers from state institutions including the police and the army. It has become a widely used tool to expose corruption and hold authorities to account. According to CHRI —an NGO which works towards the practical realization of human rights in the countries of the Commonwealth— people submit between 5.3 and 5.6 million RTI applications every year. Thousands remain unanswered.

But for whistleblowers the consequences can be deadly. Dozens of RTI activists, as they are known, have been murdered – an epidemic of targeted assassinations to silence awkward questions that may expose lucrative and non transparent deeds involving public servants.

Generally, the attackers are government contractors, lobbies with strong political backing and local politicians”, says Tahmina Laskar, Senior Program Officer for CHRI.

This makes the Whistleblower Protection Act crucial. According to this law, passed in 2014, the identities of the complainant and public servant would be concealed and a competent authority would conduct a discreet inquiry. But five years after its approval, this law has not been implemented.

The Sondharva family – Dalits from India’s “lowest” caste – has paid an exceptionally heavy price in losing a father and a son to the fight for the right to information in India.

Nanjibhai Sondharva had a record of filing RTI requests to fight corruption in his village. He was savagely attacked and killed by six persons after demanding transparency and asking for details about funds spent on the construction of a road.

Four years earlier Nanjibhai had used RTI to obtain documents and file a court case challenging the diversion of funds for water projects related to sanitation and the construction of toilets in his village. This time Nanjibhai was called to a meeting by the local officials and beaten in front of a development officer. Nanjinhai filed three complaints, but the police didn’t act.

After his death in March 2018, the six accused men were arrested, but they were recently freed on bail. Sondharva’s eldest son, Rajesh spotted one of them roaming in his village, thus breaking a condition of his bail.

According to one officer linked to the investigation, Rajesh had been trying to get the man’s bail cancelled when he was murdered.

Rajesh was returning home to Manekwada village when he was attacked. He was riding a motorbike with a friend, when a group of people intercepted them and started beating Rajesh with sticks and pipes. The adolescent was taken to the local hospital where he later died.

As reported by The Wire, a non-profit Indian news outlet, before Rajesh passed out said he had been attacked by the same men who had murdered his father and who had been threatening his family to not pursue the case.

-Nanjibhai-Sondharvas-wife-Meghabai-is-trying-to-continue-the-fight – Copyright The Wire

The source, who spoke anonymously, added that the majority of the accused had criminal records. Local reports note that one of the accused in both murder cases is the husband of a sitting Congress member and the son of a government official from the village.

CHRI, which keeps track of the killings and assaults on RTI activists, says Rajesh became the 12th victim killed in Gujrat in connection to RTI use. Since the law passed in 2005 CHRI has counted 82 RTI activists and users killed and 166 assaulted nationwide.

A rampant increase in attacks on whistleblowers in India, and a slow and ineffective response by the authorities to these cases, denounced by international NGOs, bring fear of more of these targeted killings, unless the Whistleblower Act is implemented.

 

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Guatemala:UDEFEGUA Annual Report 2018 documents 392 attacks on HRDs including 26 killings

UDEFEGUA Annual Report 2018 in Spanish

In terms of democratic regression and human rights abuses the situation recorded in 2018 has shown a clear increase in the level of violence against human rights defenders. In 2018 the Unit for the Protection of Defenders of Human Rights Defenders – Guatemala (UDEFEGUA) recorded a total of 392 attacks against human rights defenders.

Of particular concern is the number of 26 murders of human rights defenders, of which 21 were recorded from May onwards. To this barbarism, we must add the 18 attempted killings also recorded in 2018.

The Unit for the Protection of Defenders of Human Rights -Guatemala (UDEFEGUA) presents the Situation Report of individuals, communities and organizations that defend human rights in 2018.

This report is the product of the work of the areas of the Unit, which in addition to documenting assaults on human rights defenders, also work to assess the overall situation, support those who are pursuing legal complaints and who in various ways work to help those who were victims of violence .

For the last 18 years UDEFEGUA has been publishing reports on the different struggles and resistances, promoting and defending the human rights of the Guatemalan people. Based on this analysis UDEFEGUA wishes to highlight the trend of increasing violence against the community of human rights defenders.

This increase in attacks against individuals, organisations and human rights communities is also a reflection of the emergence of a strong movement to defend human rights in the country and, along with that, the growth of struggles and resistance of the peoples and communities who are demanding the construction of a society based on the values of adignified life, democracy, transparency, freedom, justice, truth, inclusion and equity.

UDEFEGUA wishes to acknowledge, through this report, all the people, collectives, organizations, communities, movements and peoples that day by day fight in favor of human rights, in a context of adversity, violence and repression.

We hope that the information contained in this report will also be useful for the generation of protection strategies and mechanisms, as well as national and international advocacy actions.

Jorge Santos

BRAZIL: INTENSIFICATION OF THE VIOLENCE PROVOKED BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR CAUSED THE NUMBER OF FAMILIES EXPELLED TO EXPLODE

The Pastoral Land Commission

National Communication Office

The Number of People involved in Rural Conflicts increased, and Conflicts over Water hit a New Record in 2018

Approximately one million people were involved in rural conflicts in Brazil in 2018; more specifically 960,630 people were involved in conflicts compared to 708,520 people in 2017, a significant increase of 35.6%. In particular, there were 118,080 families involved in land conflicts in 2018, while in 2017, there were 106,180 families, hence an increase of 11%.

The level of families involved in conflicts has increased significantly from 2013 onwards. The increase in the number of people involved in conflicts was not homogeneous throughout the national territory. There was a marked increase, of 119.7%, in the number of people involved in conflicts in the northern region of Brazil in 2018, compared to 2017, the main factor in the general increase in the number of people involved in conflicts in the country. This gives us strong indications of the advance / invasion of the Amazon region, which will be corroborated by the other indicators of the conflicts.

INTENSIFICATION OF THE VIOLENCE PROVOKED BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR CAUSED THE NUMBER OF FAMILIES EXPELLED TO EXPLODE

In only 2018, private forces were responsible for the expulsion of 2,307 families and the public power for evicting 11,235 families. The number of families expelled by private forces in the rural areas increased by 59% over 2017. Three regions were responsible for most of the expulsions, namely the north, with 36.3% of families expelled; the southeast with 35.6% and the mid-west with 24.9%.

2019 AND THE ALREADY APPARENT INCREASE IN MURDERS

2018 had a substantial drop in the number of murders. A decline from 71, in 2017, when there were 5 massacres, to 28 in 2018. The CPT has observed that electoral years tend to have a decrease in this type of violence. However, 2019 already indicates a rise in the number of murders. In the first four months of the year, the CPT recorded 11 confirmed
murders in rural conflicts and this number may be even higher. In an attack in the state of Amazonas on March 30, 1 person was killed and 3 or more people may be missing, according to reports from local residents, as families have not yet felt safe to return home. The total recorded so far already represents 40% of the deaths registered in 2018.

LAND CONFLICTS

In 2018 the occurrences of rural conflicts increased by 3.9%, compared to 2017, rising from 1,431 occurrences to 1,489. The occurrence of specifically land conflicts has increased significantly since 2016, as well as in the period of political breakdown (2015-2018). Finally, the recent years of 2016, 2017 and 2018 are the ones that had the most land conflicts in Brazil, despite the fall in numbers between 2017 and 2018.

482 WOMEN SUFFER VIOLENCE IN RURAL CONFLICTS

The importance of women in the context of the struggles of the peoples and communities in rural areas is bec oming ever more evident and shocking. And due to their their brave action they suffer the consequences of the repression sponsored by landowners, land grabbers and businessmen, and executed by gunmen, hired assassins, security companies and by the repressive organs of the State itself – Civil and Military Police and the Federal Police.According to the data registered in CPT’s database, 1,409 women suffered some type of violence between 2009 and 2018. This number could be multiplied many times, for example, because in cases of eviction or forcible expulsion, the number of families was computed, but not the specific number of women involved. Despite the lack of that information, in 2018, the number of women who suffered some form of violence, 482, was the highest since 2008.

CONFLICTS OVER WATER BREAK A NEW RECORD WITH THE HIGHEST NUMBER SINCE 2002

In 2018, the CPT registered 276 conflicts over water, involving 73,693 families, thus breaking the record set in 2017, which had the largest number of water conflicts since 2002, when the CPT began to register this type of conflict separately. Among the victims, 85% of them are traditional communities. The number of conflicts is 40% higher and that of the families involved, 108%. 48.1% of the cases, 133, were concentrated in the Northeast; in the Southeast, 85, 30.8% of the cases; in the North, 18.8% of the cases, 52. Bahia and Minas Gerais were the states with the most conflicts over water in 2018, each with 65 cases (23.55%).

Mining companies account for 50.36% of conflicts (139). International mining companies caused 111 of the conflicts, and national mining companies, 28. Every day mining is responsible for many of the conflicts and violence suffered by the rural communities. The violence is not restricted to the specific mine being explored. Mining requires an entire
infrastructure of venues, camps, sheds, highways, railways, pipelines, condominiums or company-towns), which “presuppose different forms of domination over geographical space”. New territories are used, causing overlapping and conflicts with the peoples and communities that live and work in those same spaces. Conflicts involving mining have reached different peoples and communities in the field through various categories of workers. They are people who depend on water, forests and land to socially reproduce their own existence with dignity. CPT records show that from 2004 to 2018 there were 1,123 conflicts involving mining.

LABOR CONFLICTS: WORKERS HOSTAGES OF SILENCE

In 2017, 66 cases of slave labor were recorded, involving a total of 530 people, and 386 were released. In 2018, 86 cases were registered, with of 1,465 people reported in the complaints and 945 people released. This corresponds to a 30% increase in the number of cases, 176% in the number of workers reported in the complaints, and 144.8% in the
number of people released. Adding to the 3 occurrences of superexploitation of labor, in 2018 there are 89 cases of labor disputes – 35% more than in 2017, and with 1,477 people involved – 178.8% more than in 2017. Two people were murdered in these conflicts.

AGROCHEMICALS: THE FEAR THAT SILENCES

But other situations, equally serious, reveal different ways of exploiting work in the field, which the CPT registers. For example, the cases of workers intoxicated by agrochemicals. From 2000 to 2018, CPT registered 363 victims in conflicts involving pesticides, people who died or whose lives were threatened by contact with them. The numbers registered by the CPT are small in the face of reality. Most likely, most people who seek the doctor because of intoxication are diagnosed with other health problems, thus failing to relate the problem to the pesticide.

Most of the workers who suffer intoxication do not denounce the fact, as they fear being punished with loss of employment. Their source of sustenance is at stake. The fear of losing their job, makes the workers, the quietest group. They are hostages of silence.

You can buy a full hard copy of the report HERE

More information:
Cristiane Passos: +55 62 4008-6406 / 99307-4305
Elvis Marques: +55 62 4008-6414 / 99309-6781
Mário Manzi: +55 62 4008-6412
www.cptnacional.org.br / @cptnacional