A young boy stands amongst the 772 white crosses, each representing murdered rural workers and activists at a ceremony to mark the murder of Sister Dorothy one year ago.
At a memorial in the remote rural area in the Amazon where
SisterDorothy lived and worked, Greenpeace activists, community
people, andother environmental and human rights advocates planted
white crossesfor each rural worker who has been assassinated in
land conflicts overthe last 33 years in the Amazon state of Pará
alone. Theyerected red crosses for every community leader
currently under adeath threat in the state.
By the end of their labours, there were 772 white and 48 red
crosses at the site.
Parástate in the Amazon is one of the most violent areas in the
world wheredisputes are routinely settled with weapons. At 72 years
old and aveteran of more than 30 years of activism, Sister Dorothy
Stang was nostranger to the dangers of her work, and she had been
threatened manytimes. On the morning of February 12th last year,
she was shot sixtimes by Rayfran das Neves with his accomplice,
Thetwo gunmen have since received sentences of 27 and 17 years
of prison,respectively, for her murder. The two landowners accused
of orderingthe murder have managed to postpone their trials through
At the timeof her death, Sister Dorothy was working to create
sustainabledevelopment projects, which encourage Amazon communities
to use theland in an environmentally friendly way by combining food
productionand sustainable exploitation of forest resources, without
"The creation and implementation of protected areasare important
to stop land grabbing, deforestation and the violencerelated to
illegal land occupation and environmental destruction in
theAmazon", said André Muggiati, Greenpeace Amazon Campaigner, in
TheBrazilian Government made many promises about the
implementation of thetwo Social Development Projects that Sister
Dorothy was working tocreate at the time of her murder.
Her work remains unfinished. The violence continues. In the year
sinceher death at least another 18 rural workers have been murdered
In a region marred by land grabbing, human rights
abuses,environmental degradation and land conflicts, Sister Dorothy
alwaysfought for the protection of the Amazon. It is now time for
theBrazilian Government to make good on their promises and help
SisterDorothy finish her work.
Light a 'virtual candle'
You can light a 'virtual candle' to show your support for the creation and implementation of protected areas and effective presence of the rule of law in the State of Pará.