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Vanderley da Cunha (Deley de Acari)


I do not want to be a martyr. I do not want them to put a prize on my name: Deley de Acari's Medal in Defense of Human Rights. What I want is to stay alive.

Vanderley Cunha, known Deley de Acari, is a human rights activist, poet and cultural agitator in the favela of Acari, in the northern part of Rio de Janeiro. Since the 1970s he has been involved in human rights monitoring and reporting in the favela, which has been the scene of constant violence between the military police and the drug traffickers. In the 1970s he joined the group of poet writers called 'Negrícia', and was a reporter and field researcher of the Vissungo Group. For 15 years he has participated in the Rede de Comunidades e Movimentos Contra a Violência (Network of Communities and Movements Against Violence), whose main activity is to mobilize family members and victims of state violence and denounce police violence and torture. Two years ago, Deley took part in the creation of the Fala Acari Collective, which addesses police violence and homicides committed by the police against young people and children of Acari, which remains one of the most dangerous favelas in Rio de Janeiro.

Vanderley de Cunha investigates cases of human rights violations and killings executed by the military police forces in the favela and reports it to NGOs, the Public Ministry and the media. Because of his work he is systematically threatened with death and is regularly harassed by the military 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.


Deley de Acari, Brazil - Testimony at the 2017 Dublin Platform