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Claudelice da Silva Santos


Claudelice da Silva Santos is a woman human rights defender from the state of Pará, in the Brazilian Amazon. She became a well recognised human rights defender through her struggle for justice following the killing of her brother José Claudio Ribeiro dos Santos and his wife, Maria do Espírito Santo, in 2011. Claudelice had fought alongside her brother and sister in law for the right to access to land and denounced human rights violations resulting from land grabbing, logging and crimes against the environment. She was subjected to a number of threats due to her human rights activities. Claudelice da Silva Santos is currently studying to become a lawyer, and says that her struggle now encompasses “the right to land and to life”. Claudelice is one of the nominees for the 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, organised by the European Parliament.


The challenges and threats faced by human rights defenders in Brazil remain very high, particularly for those working on issues of land, environment, indigenous peoples, LGBTi rights, corruption and impunity. Many HRDs have experienced death threats, physical attacks, arbitrary arrests and lawsuits. The high number of killings is of particular concern and takes place against a background of widespread impunity.