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Marielle Franco

Marielle Franco


Marielle Franco was a community activist for many years before becoming a city councillor in 2016. As an Afro-Brazilian, woman human rights defender, she advocated for housing rights for some of the city’s poorest and most marginalised residents, defended women’s and LGBT rights and worked against systemic racism. She had become an expert on policing and was outspoke in her criticism of the violence that often accompanied the military and police presence in Rio’s favellas.

Marielle and Anderson Pedro Gomes, a colleague who was driving her car, were shot dead by two assailants, in what appears to be a targeted killing, at approximately 9:30 pm on Wednesday, 14 March on Joaquim Palhares Street, in the Central Region of Rio de Janeiro.


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.