AMERICA/BRAZIL - 11 years after the death of Sister Dorothy Stang, killings due to land conflict increase

Friday, 19 February 2016 martyrs   persecutions   poverty  

Anapu (Agenzia Fides) - Many families of Anapu farmers in the south of Pará (Brazil), met on February 12 and in the following days to commemorate the murder of Sister Dorothy Stang, which occurred 11 years ago. She was a loyal friend and close to their problems, as well as a religious known for her courage and availability.
Sister Dorothy Stang, 73, was born in the United States of America and naturalized Brazilian, of the Congregation of Notre Dame, and was killed on the morning of February 12, 2005 with six shots in a location 40 km from the town of Anapu, in the western region of the state of Pará. For over twenty years the religious was engaged in the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), accompanying the lives of farmers, especially in the Trans-Amazon region of the state of Para. Because of her denunciation of the violent actions carried out by "fazendeiros and grileiros", sister Dorothy had received numerous death threats since 1999 (see Fides 16/02/2015).
In the meetings and celebrations for the anniversary, according to the note sent to Fides by the PMS of Brazil, there was also talk of recent crimes that occurred in the month of January in Eldorado do Carajás.
According to the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), the number of murders due to conflicts in rural areas in 2015 were the highest in the last 12 years in Brazil, with 49 recorded deaths, mostly in the Northern region.
The CPT, however, warns that the data is still incomplete and may increase, as on-site information is still being collected. Last year alone, the number of deaths for land conflict was the highest since 2003: 73 murders. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 19/02/2016)