Sebastião Camargo

Sixty-five year old Sebastiano Camargo had been a member of MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra) For many years. He was 65 years olD and was married with 5 children. Much of his life was dedicated to the struggle for land. He lived in Paraguay for a good part of his life working in the land of other people as a tenant farmer. He returned to Brazil in 1995 to join the MST.

On 07 February 1998 armed gunmen under the command of the Rural Democratic Union (UDR), which represents the interests of large landowners, arrived at the MST camp in Marilena, Paraná, where 300 families lived, to carry out a forced eviction.

The people in the camp were driven out of their tarpaulin tents by shots, insults and assaults and were forced to lie on the ground, face down. Sebastiao Camargo had back problems and could not keep his head down and therefore the UDR president, afraid of being recognised, murdered Sebastião Camargo shooting him in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun. According to information, about 30 gunmen participated in the action and about 17 people were injured.

A few years later, three people were convicted of the death of Sebastiano and at the end of 2016 Marcos Prochet, president of the UDR was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Due to the unjustified delay in the conclusion of the police inquiry, the case was presented to the IACHR and in 2009 Brazil was held responsible for the human rights violations that occurred. In 2016 the state of Paraná made symbolic reparations to the family in a solemn act with a formal apology and the delivery of a cheque in compensation for the Sebastian’s murder.

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Date of Killing:07/02/1998

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Social leader

Organisation:Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra - MST

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Land Rights

More information:Front Line Defenders

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