Jane Beatriz da Silva Nunes, 60 years old, was an activist with the Black movement, a feminist and human rights defender. She worked in community development and had been trained by the NGO Themis – Gender Justice and Human Rights, as a “Promotor Legal Popular” (PLP). The “Promotoras Legais Populares” (PLPs), known in different countries in Latin America as “multiplying community agents”, are community leaders who listen, guide, give advice and help other women to have access to the justice and the services that should be demanded when they suffer a violation of human rights. In addition to this guiding role, PLPs share information and promote the use of the law in the daily lives of black and poor women to enforce their rights.
Jane was well known in her community in Grande Cruzeiro, a poor neighbourhood in the city of Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. Born in Encruzilhada do Sul (RS), Jane had lived in the Grande Cruzeiro community for 40 years. She was involved in setting up the Association União das Vilas, which brings together 36 communities of Grande Cruzeiro.
Jane Beatriz helped to set up several NGOs to support women, such as Maria Mulher, Association of Women in Solidarity of Vila Cruzeiro (Assmusol) and the Food Acquisition Programme (PAA) in the community.
On 8 December 2020, police officers broke into Jane Beatriz’s home while she was at the market. When she arrived home she challenged the police officers and died in circumstances that still need to be properly investigated. Since the incident the police have circulated different versions of the incident and NGO Themis have issued a statement calling for a full investigation into her death.
While the police have claimed that Jane Beatriz died from natural causes, as a result of a brain haemorrhage, a neighbour, who claims to have witnessed the incident, stated that the police had beaten Jane Beatriz, which brought on the haemorrhage.