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

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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.