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Maria do Espírito Santo da Silva

Maria do Espírito Santo da Silva

HRD, Member
Conselho Nacional das Populações Extrativistas – CNS

Maria do Espírito Santo da Silva was a member of environmentalist group Conselho Nacional das Populações Extrativistas – CNS (National Council of Extractive Populations), and a leader of the Projeto Agroextrativista Praialta-Piranheira (Agro-extractive Project Praialta-Piranheira) in Nova Ipixuna, in Pará State. On 24 May 2011 Maria do Espírito Santo da Silva and her husband José Cláudio Ribeiros da Silva were ambushed near their home by unknown individuals and shot repeatedly. They had received death threats in the past from loggers and cattle ranchers as a result of their work defending the rainforest, and had reported said threats to the police.

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.