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Gizele Martins

WHRD, Journalist

Gizele Martins is a human rights defender and grassroots communicator, resident of Morro do Timbau, in the Maré favela, Rio de Janeiro. She is a journalist, with a Masters in Education, Culture, Communication and Urban Peripheries.

Gizele was at the frontline of actions to tackle COVID-19 in marginalized communities of Rio de Janeiro, participating in the Maré Mobilization Front, a collective of grassroots communicators created to mitigate the effects of the pandemic in the favela.

Gizele is an activist in the struggle for human rights, youth, democratisation of communication, anti-racism, feminism, occupations and the right to housing. She is the author of the book Mobilização e Censura: a luta por liberdade de expressão na favela da Maré. The book has been adapted for theatre, and is being produced and rehearsed by people from the territory itself.

In 2017, Gizele visited Palestine and noticed the many similarities between the occupation of this territory and the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. On her return to Brazil, the journalist produced a series of articles and lectures on the topic, drawing attention to militarization, racism, and apartheid in the world. She has lectured in different countries such as Italy, Holland, Mexico, Jamaica, Colombia, South Africa, and Namibia. She is the winner of the Mega Cities Project in Ecuador.

Because of her work in defence of human rights, Gizele has been subjected to a series of threats and intimidation.


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.