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Brazilian Parliament Debating Pillar of Shame

Press release 08.04.2000:

Brazilian Parliament Debating Pillar of Shame

On Friday 7 April the Pillar of Shame, created by Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot, was landed in the port of Rio de Janeiro. The artist himself will arrive in Rio on Monday with a camera crew that will cover the setting up of this 'Nobel Prize of Injustice' in Brazil.

In a speech made on Wednesday, the leader of the Opposition, senator Ms Helomsa Helena urged all democratic forces to back the mounting of the controversial sculpture at water level in the lake in front of the Parliament.

The senator emphasized: "by accepting the Pillar of Shame and setting it up, the National Congress is manifesting a symbolic act testifying that this parliament is not conniving with impunity."

Ms Helena proceeds: "Impunity is an international evil undermining the human rights of citizens in rich and poor countries, independently of religious faith, colour or sex. Having this in mind, Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot has created the Pillar of Shame, an eight metres high sculpture that is serving as an accusation against impunity. The piece of art has been inspired by the assassination of 19 landless peasants in Eldorado de Carajas, Para, on 17 April 1996."

It is still uncertain whether an authorization can be achieved for exhibiting the sculpture on this poignant site. But for the time being the Danish artist is pleased with the state of affairs. He says: "I'm really happy that we have achieved such a wide parliamentary and popular support for setting up the Pillar of Shame in Brazil, for the sake of highlighting the rule of law in the biggest country in Latin America."

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Letter To The Brazilian President

Ofmcio n: 53/2000 - GLDPT Brasilia, 05 April 2000

Mr President,

The International Day against Impunity is commemorated on 17 April; in several countries preparations are under way to mark this date. Impunity is an international evil undermining the human rights of citizens in rich and poor countries, independently of religious faith, colour or sex. Having this in mind, Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot has created the Pillar of Shame, an eight metres high sculpture that is serving as an accusation against impunity. The piece of art has been inspired by the assassination of 19 landless peasants in Eldorado de Carajas, Para, on 17 April 1996. As homage to those peasants and thousands of others engaged in the struggle for the land all over the world, and as an act of solidarity with the victims of impunity in Brazil, Jens Galschiot has donated the sculpture to the Brazilian people. On 9 April the Pillar will arrive in Rio de Janeiro where it will be received by the inhabitants of the city. From there it will proceed to Brasilia. The exhibition of this important piece of art is a pacific and significant manifestation for highlighting the relevance of the date and the importance of expressing protest against this evil. Having this in mind, I apply for authorization to you, Mr President, that the Pillar of Shame be accepted by the National Congress and exhibited at water level, as symbolic act testifying that this Parliament is not conniving with impunity. The exhibition should have the duration of eight days, from 16 April. To make sure, I clarify that all expenditures for transport and mounting of the sculpture will be covered by the donator himself, so that will not be any expenses for the public purse. I take this occasion to express my respect and esteem.

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Letter To:

Senator Helomsa Helena

Leader of the Parliamentary Bloc of the Opposition

SCULPTURAL OUTCRY This Pillar of Shame has been erected as a memorial to the victims of the massacre in Eldorado de Carajas on 17 April 1996. The sculpture is a testament of the support to the democratic movement in the country, and to its fight for ensuring the rule of law and the inviolability of human rights in Brazil. Jens Galschiot, 2000

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