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Valdivino Lopes

HRD, Quilombola leader

Valdivino Lopes, 56 years old, is a quilombola leader from Quilombo Onça, located in the Médio Mearim region, in the municipality of Santa Ines - Maranhão.

He is a member of the Quilombola Movement of Maranhão (MOQUIBOM), and of the National Articulation of Quilombos (ANQ), as well as an articulator of the Teia de Povos e Comunidades Tradicionais do Maranhão.

Since 2010, Quilombo Onça has been fighting for the title to its traditional lands, which are being invaded and deforested by ranchers to raise beef cattle.

Valdivino Lopes has received several death threats since he decided to fight for their quilombola rights to live and cultivate in the place where he was born and raised. Recently, the threats intensified after the community retook part of their land because they were being pushed away from their territory throught a violent land occupation done by farmers.

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.