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NEWS: Right Livelihood notes rise in violence against social activists in Brazil

Da Redaçã reports (in Portuguese), “An international delegation from the Right Livelihood Foundation arrived in Brazil on Sunday (March 31) to get clarification about the murder of social activists, mainly related to the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) and the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST).”

“The organization cites data from the Swedish Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), which indicate that the number of activists threatened or victims of violence grew … from 125 to 347 cases during the period of 2010 to 2011.”

The foundation specifically mentions the recent murder of MST leader Cicero Guedes this past January. Guedes was shot in the head twelve times as he was bicycling away from a settlement of landless families in the vicinity of the Cambahyba sugar plant in the municipality of Campos dos Goytacazes in Rio de Janeiro. Trident Ploughshares has noted on their website, “Shortly after the murder of MST leader Cícero Guedes news arrived that his colleague Regina dos Santos Pinho, an MST activist working in the same area, was found dead in her home.”

The delegation includes Right Livelihood Award recipients Angie Zelter, representing UK-based Trident Ploughshares, and Argentine biologist Raúl Montenegro. It also includes former Swedish parliamentarian Marianne Andersson, who serves on the board of directors of the foundation.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow received the Right Livelihood Award in 2005 for exemplary and longstanding worldwide work for trade justice and the recognition of the fundamental human right to water. In response to the killing of Guedes, Barlow stated, “To lose a cherished colleague in this terrible way reminds us that, to fight for justice, some people put their lives on the line every day. We mourn the loss of Cicero Guedes and share the grief of his family and comrades. Once I had the great fortune to visit a settlement of the landless movement in Brazil and thought I had perhaps found heaven. It was one of the loveliest places I had ever seen and the true antidote to our world of greed and unlimited growth. We will carry on our work in Cicero’s name.”

For more, please read UPDATE: Barlow and RLA Laureates mourn the killing of Cicero Guedes at The news article can be read at here.