Posts Tagged ‘Petrobras’

Brazil: NGO community comes out to support HRD Alexandre Anderson de Souza

January 29, 2013

On 28 January 2013, a number of Brazilian civil society organisations and social movements addressed an open letter to the Coordinator of the National Programme for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (NPPHRD) and the Presidency regarding the security situation for human rights defender Alexandre Anderson de Souza.

Alexandre Anderson de Souza is head of the Associação dos Homens do Mar – AHOMAR (Association of Seamen), an organisation set up to defend the rights of the fisherfolk working in Rio de Janeiro, and particularly those affected by the construction of a gas pipeline for Petrobras. AHOMAR argues that there are reports of environmental permit irregularities in the construction of the pipeline and it will have a negative impact on local flora and fauna as well as on the livelihood of those who fish in those waters in the Guanabara Bay.

Alexandre Anderson de Souza has suffered a number of threats to his life and has been under the NPPHRD since 2009, but the federal government has delegated the responsibility to authorities in the state of Rio de Janeiro, where he and his family live. However, the human rights defender and a number of Brazilian civil society organisations and social movements that support him, have been repeatedly expressing their discontent with the protection offered by the state programme and the conditions in which Alexandre Anderson de Souza, his wife Ms Daize Menezes and their children have been forced to live. As the situation has worsened the human rights defender and his family have had to relocate to different hotels in the city of Rio de Janeiro but the locations were highly insecure. The buildings did not have 24-hour reception personnel and the rooms they were accommodated in had no telephone. The protection programme has been unable to ensure Alexandre and his family’s return to their residence in Magé, and as a result the human rights defender remains unable to resume his work at AHOMAR. Four members of AHOMAR have been killed to date.

Another point of discontent with the state protection programme has been the unsatisfactory level of legal support provided to the human rights defender by the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Projeto Legal (Legal Project). Projeto Legal has signed an agreement with the government of the state of Rio de Janeiro, in the context of the state protection programme, to provide legal support and advice to the human rights defenders included in the programme. After repeated complaints about the NGO’s inaction in several instances, Alexandre Anderson de Souza received information from a reliable source that one of Projeto Legal’s main funders is Petrobras, the same oil company whose actions the human rights defender and his organisation AHOMAR have been trying to hold accountable for environmental damages. The information was confirmed on the websites of both Petrobras and the NGO, but neither they, nor the government of the state of Rio de Janeiro, have clarified the terms of the agreement, raising doubts over the impartiality of the organisation and a conflict of interests.

The open letter signed by several civil society organisation addressed the main concerns of Alexandre Anderson de Souza and other NGOs working with human rights defenders in the country. While welcoming the formal establishment of the state of Rio de Janeiro’s protection programme for human rights defenders through the Decree 44.038 signed on 18 January 2013, the letter asks for Alexandre and his wife Daize, as well as other human rights defenders who are currently under the protection of the state, to have their security ensured by the National Protection Programme until the state protection programme is fully operating and able to fully ensure the safety of human rights defenders in the territory of the state of Rio de Janeiro.

Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned following reports of the vulnerable security situation of human rights defender Alexandre Anderson de Souza and his family, and of other human rights defenders under the protection of the state of Rio de Janeiro. Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped

http://racismoambiental.net.br/2013/01/carta-aberta-ao-coordenador-nacional-do-programa-de-protecao-aos-defensores-de-direitos-humanos-sr-igo-martini/#more-85964

 

Two HRDs defending the rights of fishermen in Brazil killed

July 2, 2012

Front Line Defenders and other NGOs report the case of Brazilian human rights defenders Mr Almir Nogueira de Amorim and Mr João Luiz Telles Penetra whose bodies were found on 24 and 25 June 2012. The story is shocking in its brutality and impunity.

Almir Nogueira de Amorim and João Luiz Telles Penetra, or “Pituca” as he was known, were both leaders of the Associação Homens do Mar – AHOMAR (Association of Sea Men) which was set up in 2009 to defend the rights of the fisher-folk working in Rio de Janeiro, and particularly those affected by the construction of a gas pipeline for Petrobras. Since the founding of the organisation its members have reported being subjected to death threats, physical attacks and killings. According to AHOMAR’s members, the attacks are perpetrated by people linked to death squads, security guards hired by the companies in charge of building pipelines and militias operating in the region.

On the afternoon of 25 June 2012, João Luiz Telles Penetra’s body was found on the banks of Guanabara Bay by employees of a shipyard. The fisherman’s corpse was bound at his hands and feet by rope. The previous day, at around midday, the body of Almir Nogueira de Amorim was found tied to his boat. He had bruises on his neck and the boat had several holes in the hull.

On 22 June 2012, at approximately 4:00pm, Almir Nogueira de Amorim went to João Luiz Telles Penetra’s home in Ilha de Paquetá, a neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro, to collect him to go fishing.

Almir Nogueira de Amorim was a founding member and vocal activist of AHOMAR. João Luiz Telles Penetra was the leader of the association in Ilha de Paquetá and had been a key figure in a new campaign launched by the organisation. He led the struggle against Petrobras’ construction plans in Guaxindiba river, located within the Área de Proteção Ambiental Guapimirim (Environmental Protected Area of Guapimirim). The oil company wants to deepen the river to create a waterway, which would eliminate any possibility of fishing in these waters.

Almir Nogueira de Amorim and João Luiz Telles Penetra are not the first members of AHOMAR to be murdered. On 19 January 2010, fisherman and human rights defender Marcio Amaro was assassinated one day after a demonstration organised by AHOMAR took place in front of the Petrobras headquarters in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Prior to his killing Marcio Amaro had filed a formal complaint concerning the presence of unlawfully armed men in Petrobras construction sites in Guanabara Bay. On 22 May 2009 Paulo César dos Santos Souza, former treasurer of the association, was killed in front of his wife and children after being shot in the head five times. The crime occurred six hours after a government inspection decided to stop the pipeline construction due to irregularities. To date no one has been brought to justice for these killings.

The president of AHOMAR Mr Alexandre Anderson de Souza, has been under the National Protection Programme for Human Rights Defenders for the past three years. However he, and his family, still face many risks. Reportedly at least three other leaders of AHOMAR received death threats in recent months. Even with the high rate of violence in the region of Mauá and all the threats faced by human rights defenders, the only police station covering the region was shut down on 13 February 2012.

Front Line Defenders believes the murder of Almir Nogueira de Amorim and João Luiz Telles Penetra is directly related to their human rights activities, in particular their work to defend the rights of the fisherfolk in Rio de Janeiro, and is seriously concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of their family members and other members of the association.