Rio de Janeiro, March 14, 2019.- One year after the murder of Marielle Franco and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, Brazilian law enforcement officials arrested two former military police officers for the presumed involvement in her execution. However, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) stands with Marielle’s family members in demanding that all those involved in her murder be duly investigated, prosecuted and sanctioned; and that the State continue to pursue an investigation into who ordered the assassination. Only then, will true justice be obtained.
Marielle Franco was an afro-descendent woman from Maré Favela, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Rio. She was a fearless human rights defender and leader, working on the frontlines of racial and gender equality. In 2016, Marielle was elected to the City Council, receiving 46.502 votes, which made her the only black council woman in office at that moment. Like so many human rights defenders in Brazil, she used her voice to raise awareness and denounce human rights violations and the structural violence suffered by Brazilian minorities. Before her murder, Marielle Franco was appointed as parliamentary rapporteur to provide information on the abuses committed by the military police in the course of the Federal Intervention that was in place in Rio de Janeiro.
Unfortunately, Marielle’s case is a grim reminder of the reality faced by human right defenders in Brazil, many of whom find themselves risking their lives in the fight against injustice, impunity, structural discrimination and racism. These factors have placed Brazil in the top most dangerous countries for human right defenders in the world. Many human rights defenders’ deaths seldom see justice.
We recognize that the Brazilian government expressed its commitment at the Human Rights Council (HRC) yesterday morning to investigate the totality of the facts surrounding Marielle’s murder. However, we remind them that this must include identifying and investigating the masterminds behind her death, ensuring accountability and justice for the victims. Furthermore, in order to prevent more deaths like Marielle’s, this commitment must also extend to other human rights defenders. In that sense, it is imperative for Brazil to strengthen policies designed to protect the right to defend rights.
Finally, on this anniversary, we stand in solidarity with the family members, civil society groups, and social movements who cherish her memory and demand truth and justice for her death. Marielle’s voice lives in many others and will not be silenced. #MariellePresente #JustiçaporMarielle
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