Various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) addressed a letter yesterday to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva requesting an effective State presence in the Amazon.
The organizations also staged a demonstration in front of the Presidential Palace in Brasília to recall Sister Dorothy Stang’s struggle on behalf of the peoples of the forest and to call for peace in the countryside.
Sister Dorothy, who was killed by six gunshot wounds on February 12 of this year in Anapu, Pará, in the North of Brazil, would have turned 74 yesterday.
In the document sent to the President, the NGOs urged that federal government organs be beefed up to ensure an end to violence and impunity in the Amazon.
One of the Greenpeace representatives, Carlos Rittl, believes that very little has changed since Dorothy Stang’s death.
“Despite all the commotion over Sister Dorothy’s assassination, things haven’t changed much. The people who live there continue to be persecuted.”
He says that the federal government must adopt more concrete measures. “We are presenting the government with clear demands for it to guarantee people’s security and acknowledge the demands of the communities and the rights of the peoples of the forest.”
The letter asks for the territorial organization and property regularization of community areas in the state of Pará to be carried out, as well as the listing of rural properties, for the region’s conservation units to be implemented.
The document also asks for Rural and Extractive Family Production to be fortified to be able to resist the expansion of entrepreneurial agricultural.
Another request is that Sister Dorothy Stang’s murder trial be transferred to the federal court system.
Today, the Federal Appeals Court is expected to decide whether to transfer the case to the federal sphere.
“The impunity of the crimes that have occurred in Pará give no hope that state courts are capable of bringing everyone involved in the case to judgment. Thus we believe that justice will only be done through federalizing the case,” Rittl said.
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