Increased global activism is crucial to pressuring Brazilian authorities into solving the killing of the human rights defender and city councilor Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes, said Amnesty International today, two months after they were shot dead in Rio de Janeiro.
“Without international solidarity, we fear Marielle’s tragic killing will not be solved. Two months on, we must keep mobilizing to show the Brazilian authorities that people here and all over the world won’t rest until justice is done,” said Jurema Werneck, Executive Director of Amnesty International Brazil. “Every day that goes by without developments casts fresh doubt on the effectiveness of the investigation. We cannot let this case go unsolved. Who killed Marielle and Anderson and who ordered the killing? These questions must not be left unanswered.”
“We appreciate the seriousness with which the investigation has been conducted and we hope that it carries on like that until we get a concrete answer, not just for the family but for the entire world. We need to keep fighting,” added Marielle Franco’s mother, Marinete da Silva.
A prominent human rights defender, Marielle was known for campaigning for LGBTI and black women’s rights, as well as denouncing police abuses and extrajudicial executions in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. She was elected to the city council in 2016 and, a few days before her killing, she was appointed rapporteur of a commission to monitor federal intervention in Rio de Janeiro’s public security.
Marielle and Anderson were killed as they were driving home from a public debate on 14 March. At least 13 shots were fired, with four bullets hitting Marielle in the head. Recent reports in the Brazilian press stated that five security cameras that would have captured the incident were turned off the day before her killing.
“As long as we have the strength we will demand justice and we will do that by occupying the streets and public spaces. My sister was from the resistance and this is how we will be until the end,” said Marielle’s sister Anielle Francisco da Silva.
“She was fearless. She would never hide. She was on the frontline, facing everything head-on. She was very brave and courageous. Whoever killed her was the opposite,” added Marielle’s father Antonio Francisco da Silva Neto.
Marielle’s killing provoked massive demonstrations in Brazil and around the world. More than 12,000 people have signed an Amnesty International petition calling for an independent and impartial investigation.
“Those who kill human rights defenders seek to silence us. Impunity fuels this terrible cycle of violence, putting other activists and community leaders at risk. We call on the authorities to ensure that the investigation is thorough and effective and we urge everyone to sign our petition to make the same calls for justice. We owe it to ourselves and to Marielle,” said Jurema Werneck.