Global Witness responds to President Temer of Brazil's accusation that our report 'At What Cost?' is fake news.
Statement from Ben Leather, Senior Campaigner at Global Witness:
That President Temer has opted to attack our report and question our integrity is emblematic of his government’s attitude to human rights and those who protect them. Rather than committing to protect people from murder and articulating how he will do that, he has instead deliberately jeopardised our efforts to support those at risk. Brushing it aside with the Trumpian moniker of “fake news” is irresponsible and disappointing on every level.
Global Witness´s methodology is thorough, and our data subject to rigorous verification. But he is right to ask about the numbers. Because, if anything, many more activists are dying than we are able to document. Not to mention those who are threatened, attacked, harassed and criminalised for defending their land rights and our environment.
Brazil is the world´s most dangerous country for land and environmental activism. But if defenders aren’t safe, then everybody’s rights are at risk of being undermined by big business and corrupt politicians. President Temer and all the candidates for the forthcoming elections should commit to tackling this issue, strengthening the institutions that protect land rights, indigenous peoples and human rights defenders, and ensuring that justice is done.
The increase in budget for the Human Rights Defender Protection Program is a welcome step in the right direction, but it must be effectively implemented across the country as a matter of priority.
The new Global Witness report, “At What Cost?” recommended that the Brazilian government:
- Strengthen the budget allocation and the
institutional capacity of the National Institute of Colonisation and Agrarian
Reform (INCRA) and the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI).
- Prioritise implementation of the Protection Program for Human Rights Defenders, guaranteeing its effectiveness across all states of the country.
- Encourage the Federal Prosecutor’s Office to request the ‘federalisation’of emblematic killings of human rights defenders, whose investigations are not adequately progressing at the local level, in order to increase impartiality, create a safer environment for witnesses and reduce the impunity rate.
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