AMERICA/BRAZIL - Another peasant killed for land conflict, a national policy is lacking

Monday, 10 July 2017

Parà (Agenzia Fides) - Just over a month after the massacre of 10 peasants in Pau D'arco, in the Brazilian state of Para (see Fides 26/05/2017), another rural worker was killed in the same region. On Friday, July 7 Rosenildo Pereira de Almeida, 44, was killed while leaving a church in Rio Maria, 43 miles away from a farm in Santa Lucia. According to police investigations, two masked men on a motorcycle fired against Almeida at 10 o'clock in the evening.
According to Diario Online, Almeida was a member of the "Poor Farmers League" and helped to reorganize a camp in Santa Lucia farm a few days after the May 24 massacre of peasants. The lawyer following the cause of Santa Lucia's victims confirmed that Almeida was a leader of families who came back to create another camp in order to force the government to include ownership in the agrarian reform program. The local police and police in Xinguara are investigating the assassination.
The note sent to Fides by the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) indicates the lack of a national agricultural policy reform. For years the number of settlements has decreased while the conflict increases. Despite the massacre of Santa Lucia, there are still no measures on land use to accommodate camped families. The ineffectiveness of the responsible institute is certainly one of the main causes of the vulnerability of these people, and now, of Rosenildo's death.
According to the CPT in 2016 there were 1079 land conflicts in the country, an increase of 40% compared to 2015, when there were 771. In these conflicts, it is clear - the report also notes - that there is the certainty of impunity, destruction of abusive camps of rural workers or, in some cases, homicide. From 1995 to 2010, 408 cases (about 35% of accidents in Brazil) were recorded, with 61 victims, according to the CPT. Only 15 cases went to trial.
Para is the same state in which Sister Dorothy Stang, of the Congregation of Notre Dame, was killed in 2005 by armed groups organized by the fazendeiros. For decades the religious had worked alongside the peasants in support of their claims (see Fides 15/02/2005, 16/02/2015 and 13/02/2017). (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 10/07/2017)