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27 Apr 2017


Brazil: 9 farmers killed over land dispute in region plagued by land grabs & illegal logging

"Massacre in Brazilian farmland highlights brutal struggle", 27 Apr 2017

In Brazil, where approximately 60,000 murders are committed every year, the killings [of poor farmers] last week caused little uproar. Partly that's because they occurred in a remote area of western Brazil [with]...no proper roads and no cellphone signal. When the first reports emerged of mass killings on April 20, police had to make an arduous journey...[and] journalists...had an even harder time getting to the location...Five days on, the police have not announced any leads, let alone arrests, and the subject has largely disappeared from Brazilian news broadcasts. The biggest reason for this, say critics, is darker than mere problems of distance and communications. The area in Mato Grosso state is at the heart of Brazilian agriculture, a hugely lucrative industry that for years has been plagued by land grabs, illegal logging and environmentally destructive policies...According to the Pastoral Land Commission...61 people were killed in land conflicts in Brazil last year, the highest number since 2003...The Pastorais do Campo said the latest killings were rooted in the 2004 expulsion of 185 families from the lands they were farming. The pressure in the area has continued ever since, with murders, torture and illegal imprisonment, but hundreds of people continued to try and settle in the disputed lands...