|  Por Justiça Global

Pau D’Arco: the search for justice in the deadliest rural crime of the last 20 years

The increase of deaths related to land conflicts in recent years was a macabre prelude to what would unfortunately occur in 2017. The Pau D’Arco Massacre was the deadliest crime in Brazilian rural areas in the last 20 years, since Eldorado dos Carajás. The year was also marked by other killings, such as the one in Colniza, Mato Grosso state. In Pau D’Arco, a town located in the state of Pará, the execution of ten rural workers (nine men and one woman) on May 24th was an explicit evidence of how the high concentration of land is still far from a resolved problem in the country. Justiça Global has been monitoring the case since the beginning, acting alongside partners and networks, such as the Land Pastoral Commission, the Brazilian Committee of Human Rights Defenders and the National Human Rights Council.

As soon as the information that ten rural workers were killed in a city in the south of Pará was received, Justiça Global focused on sending CNDH representatives to the site to follow up the investigations. Besides the visibility of the case, which increased because of the presence of the CNDH, there was also the work with the federal government to conduct an independent investigation by the Federal Police; without this action, the investigation could have been in charge of the Civil Police of Pará, which have its own agents involved in the crime.

So far, the pressure from civil society and the CNDH has led to the indictment of 15 police officers involved in the case. However, those actions are still little in face of the challenge posed to the Brazilian State. The southern and south-eastern regions of Pará are historically places of murder linked to land conflicts. If the number of deaths is high, the accountability of executors and principals is very low. There are strong indications of the participation of authorities and large landowners of the region in the Pau D’Arco Massacre and other crimes, but the investigation and accountability difficulties are great. The independent investigation by the Federal Police that led to the arrest of the policemen who executed the workers was paralyzed, with the removal of the police deputy responsible for the case. The Fazenda Santa Lúcia, where the massacre occurred, has not been intended at agrarian reform, as INCRA had promised. Facing these challenges, Justiça Global and our partners will continue to follow the case in the pursuit of accountability and reparation very closely, as well as to work to make crimes as this one only to exist in history books.

Por Justiça Global