This tragedy occurred 16 years after the murder of Chico Mendes,
who was also a defender of rural communities. Mendes was also a
colleague of the current Minister for the Environment Marina Silva.
Marina Silva is in Anapu meeting with State authorities, following
the news of Sister Dorothy's death.
"Like Chico Mendes, Sister Dorothy refused to be intimidated and
she paid an enormous price," said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon
co-ordinator. "She selflessly worked for many years supporting the
rights of rural workers, and defending the Amazon from reckless
deforestation and we can't let her death be in vain."
Originally from Dayton, Ohio, US, Sister Dorothy was a Brazilian
citizen and has worked in the Amazon for the past 37 years, living
in Anapú since 1972. For 56 years she has been a member in good
standing in the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur,
an international Catholic religious order of approximately two
thousand women who work on five continents. She opposed land
grabbers and illegal loggers who use intimidation, violence and
guns to force small landowners off their land. She worked in an
area that is remote and lawless and she has received many death
"She had been on a death list for years, yet the State
government of Para has failed to protect her. She was not alone
either, as there are many others fighting against the forest
destruction and the rights of local communities, whose lives are in
danger", said Adario. "The violence and intimidation must stop. We
cannot accept more martyrs in the Amazon."
Para is the Amazon state with the highest murder rate related to
land disputes. According to the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), a
Catholic organisation campaigning for landless people and the poor,
1,237 rural workers died in Brazil from 1985 to 2001, and 40
percent of these occurred in Para.
Para State is responsible for approximately one-third of the
deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and plays a leading role in
both environmental abuse and human rights violations.
Logging in the Amazon
Notre Dame, Ohio
the Brazilian government to implement concete measures to end
the causes of this violence like land grabbing and illegal
Join Greenpeace and help us defend the Amazon