MST Urgent Actions

Request for Solidarity and Call for Action to the Governor of Paraná: Hon. Sr. Roberto Richa

MST LogoDear Friends and Supporters of the MST: We received the following urgent request from the MST's Human Rights Sector asking supporters throughout the world to contact the Governor of Paraná to begin an investigation into the murder of a landless family, lending their support to a land occupation. Below is the request. We've included documents and sample email letters. Please take the time to write the governor.

 

 

Dear Friends of MST,

Human Rights Secretary of PE Visits MST Encampment in Altinho

Demonstration Against Violence in PernambucoRepresentatives of the State Secretariat for Human Rights, the State Program for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and the Ombudsman of the Department of Social Defense visited, on Tuesday (July 3, 2012), the Gregório Bezerra encampment in the city of Altinho, rural Pernambuco (PE).

The visit had as its main objective to present the results of several investigations open to punish acts of violence.

The camp has been the scene of systematic violence by gunmen hired by landowners of the farm Serro Azul, owned by Luis Reis, since April last year. Since the beginning of this year, the landowner has become even more violent and verbal threats and intimidation came to blows.

On March 22, Reiss beat Eraldo Alves da Silva, known as Seu Antonio, a landless workers in the encampment, while he was kept under the barrel of a gun, accompanied by two gunmen.

 

[01/16/08] URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Letters Needed to Stop Continued Criminalization of MST Activists

Dear Friends of the MST,

We are writing to update you on the situation in Brazil regarding Syngenta, and to tell you about the next steps in the struggle to punish the transnational for its crimes. As you know, the most recent occupation of a site owned by Syngenta, carried out on October 21st, 2007, was met with extreme violence on the part of NF Security company, which Syngenta had contracted to guard its property. During the altercation, activist Valmir Mota de Oliveira (“Keno”) was killed and several people were seriously injured. A security guard was also shot to death by other guards. Despite evidence to the contrary, the prosecutor's office has pressed baseless yet serious charges against several of the MST/Via Campesina activists who were victims of the Syngenta-sponsored attacks.

The prosecutors’ office asserts that the activists are responsible for the October 21st deaths and injuries because, by participating in the land occupation, they assumed the risk that their activities would cause violence. The prosecutors even went so far as to request preventative prison terms for two MST/Via Campesina leaders in order to “maintain public order.” Luckily, the judge denied the preventative prison request, but charges are still being pressed against the leaders and other activists. Also, the gunmen who were being held in prison were released.

We are also extremely concerned about aspects of the police report which were ignored by the prosecutors, which increases the likelihood that the instigators of the crimes will go unpunished. Although the police report uncovered evidence which would allow for the indictment of Alessandro Meneghel, president of the Rural Society of Western Paraná (a landowner militia group with ties to Syngenta), the prosecutors’ office did not charge him with any crimes associated with the October 21st violence. Additionally, the police report noted that some of the gunmen had fled in a car belonging to Syngenta, and that it was a well-known fact in the area that the company used armed guards to protect its property. Additionally, at a hearing in late December, the owner of NF Security testified that Syngenta had not terminated its contract with him. In spite of all these facts, the prosecutors failed to even mention Syngenta in their indictment.

It is essential to continue our pressure onto Syngenta to disband the armed militias that they sponsor, and to ensure the punishment of those responsible for the aforementioned crimes. We are asking all friends and allies to send letters to the Syngenta headquarters in the United States, with a copy to the Swiss Embassy in Washington, DC. **SEE DRAFT LETTER BELOW**

Your action is crucial to ensure an end to injustice and impunity in Brazil’s countryside. Please ACT NOW!

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Stop the São Francisco river Project, Support Bishop Luiz Flavio Cappio's Hunger Strike

Dear Friends of the MST

As we conveyed in the most recent MST Informa, many NGOs and social movements in Brazil are against government's plan to redirect water from the São Francisco river. According to some estimates, the project will spend billions out of the public coffers, drastically change ecosystems, cause migration of peoples, and bring few benefits for those who most need
the water. The beneficiaries will be the big agricultural companies.

Two years ago, the Catholic bishop of the diocese of Barra, Bahia, Luiz Flavio Cappio, known as Frei Luiz, took a bold initiative and began a hunger strike as means to divert national attention to the project, and to ask the government to halt the project.

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