With deep sadness, Development and Peace-Caritas Canada received the news that Dilma Ferreira Silva, a regional coordinator of our Brazilian partner organization, the Movement of Dam-Affected Peoples (MAB) was killed on Friday, March 22 in the Amazonian state of Pará.
Dilma Ferreira Silva was a prominent activist and recognized leader who, for more than three decades, fought for the rights of the people affected by the Tucuruí mega-hydroelectric dam project on the Tocantins River of the Brazilian Amazon. The dam caused the displacement of an estimated 32,000 people, as well as serious environmental damage.
In 2017, Brazil was reported for the third year running as the most dangerous country in the world for land and environmental defenders, with 57 reported killings. Eighty percent of those killings took place in the Amazon basin. Not only are these leaders defending their human rights, they are also protecting the forests and rivers of the Amazon, which are essential for the survival of the entire planet.
Development and Peace has joined over 100 other organizations from over 25 countries to express our solidarity with the family of Dilma and our partner organization, the Movement of Dam-Affected Peoples (MAB). The letter calls for a complete, independent and impartial investigation of the assassination of Dilma Ferreira Silva, as well as a trial of those that carried out and ordered this horrendous crime. The letter also calls on Brazilian authorities to ensure that the country’s domestic legislation and international obligations regarding the protection of human rights and environmental defenders are fully implemented, including preventative action to avoid further acts of violence.