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Brazil must ensure justice for rights defender

Brazil must ensure justice for rights defender Marielle Franco killed a year ago, say UN and IACHR experts

GENEVA / WASHINGTON DC (14 March 2019) – Brazil must ensure that the killers of human rights defender and city councillor Marielle Franco are brought to justice, say a group of human rights experts* on the anniversary of her death.

Marielle Franco, and her driver Anderson Gomes, were shot dead in their car on 14 March 2018 while returning from a public event. Two former policemen suspected of participating in the murder were arrested on 12 March 2019.

“The killing of Marielle Franco is an attack on the heart of a democratic society and an emblematic case of the threats faced by human rights defenders in Brazil,” said the experts from the UN and the Inter-American Commission on human rights.

“If the State fails to deliver justice in this case, it would send an alarming message to human rights defenders, in particular those facing threats and attacks.

“Marielle was a source of hope and inspiration in Rio de Janeiro and beyond. She worked tirelessly to promote women’s rights, racial equality, and the rights of LGBTI people.”

Ms. Franco also campaigned on behalf of people of African descent and young people in urban areas. She decried the excessive use of force by the military and the actions of militias operating in Rio de Janeiro.

“We acknowledge the work carried out by police investigators and prosecutors, and the concrete progress made in recent days, but more must be done to establish the motives for the attack and uncover those behind it. Brazil must not take the path of impunity,” the experts said.

“The State has an obligation to ensure a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into these killings. We urge Brazil to conclude the investigation as soon as possible by bringing the intellectual and material perpetrators to justice and providing reparation and compensation for the families.”

ENDS

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