Marielle Franco’s murder exposes impunity in Brazil

“Stop killing us,” read a sign held by protesters mourning death of a civil rights leader and Rio de Janeiro’s city councillor Marielle Franco, 38.

Photo by Romerito Pontes.

Last Wednesday, two men in a car fired nine shots into the vehicle carrying Franco and her driver, Anderson Gomes, as they were returning from an event discussing empowerment of young black women, Associated Press informs.

The death of the black gay activist – known for denouncing police abuses and extrajudicial executions – is “a chilling development and is yet another example of the dangers that human rights defenders face in Brazil,” said Jurema Werneck, director of Brazil’s Amnesty International. “Marielle worked tirelessly to defend the rights of black women and young people in the favelas and other marginalized communities,” she added.

Marielle’s death also reflects the prevalent ambience of impunity in Brazil. “To dare to murder someone with a profile as high in Rio de Janeiro as Councilwoman Marielle Franco takes a lot of confidence that there will be no justice,” writes for Human Rights Watch César Muñoz. Every 10 minutes someone is murdered in Brazil, according to the Instituto Sou da Paz’s study cited by Muñoz, and in only 20% of homicide cases the prosecutor files the charges.

In February, the President Michel Temer ordered the military to take control of public security in Rio de Janeiro, to curb violence and improve his abysmal approval ratings. Marielle led the commission overseeing the military intervention.

Read the full report by the Instituto Sou da Paz here.

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