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Dorothy Stang


The death of the forest is the end of our life.

Born in the United States, Dorothy Stang spent three decades trying to preserve the rain forest and defending the rights of poor settlers who confronted powerful ranchers seeking their lands in the Amazon region. In 2005, the human rights defender was gunned down with six shots fired at close range from a revolver in the northern Brazilian state of Pará, which is notorious for environmental destruction, land-related violence and contract killings.

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.


Dorothy Stang