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2015 was a year with sad numbers for Brazil: According to the Pastoral Land Commission 2015 was the year with most murders due to "rural conflicts" in the past 12 years. The preliminary number according to the organization is 49 deaths, most of them in Northern states of the country.
Nilce de Souza Magalhães, fisherwoman and leader of the Movement of Peoples Affected by Dams (MAB), disappeared on January 7th, precisely in this region, in Rondonia state. According to a statement issued by the MAB, even though the local authorities arrested a suspect for her murder, the Military Police´s investigation is not clear, and they demand that her disappearance is "duly solved”.
Nilce was an activist and worker affected by the Jirau hydroelectric dam operated by a consortium (Energia Sustentável do Brasil), conformed by companies GDF Suez-Tractebel, Mitsui and Eletrobrás. In addition to endangering artisanal fishing in Madeira River, the hydroelectric project destroyed crops and houses, forcing the displacement of the community.
Nilce has been denouncing this project in public hearings and mobilizations for years.
In a statement for Agencia Brasil, CPT´s Coordinator in Pernambuco State, Plácido Júnior, said: "In addition to the advance of traditional agribusiness, we believe that the increase of tensions in the countryside during 2015 is strongly linked with higher disputes for resources such as wood and water, the continuity of large energy and mining projects and the reduction in the number of settlements and (land) redistribution".
The MAB considers that "the criminalization of social movements is a stain in the history of the Brazilian democratic process and that many social leaders are being delegitimized and murdered, especially in Rondonia State". "At national and international level we need to express our solidarity and seek justice, as well as the enforcement of human rights", they conclude.
Source: MAB, Agencia Brasil
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