Brutal murder of activist Mr Cicero Guedes

Letter to the President of Brazil, Lula da Silva on the murder of environmental activist Cicero Guedes


Via H.E. Maria Figueredo
Ambassador of Brazil to Malaysia
Suite 20.01, 20th Floor Menara Tan & Tan
207 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur

Fax: 03 2171 1427

Email :


Your Excellency President Lula Da Silva

Re: Brutal murder of Mr. Cicero Guedes


Friends of the Earth, Malaysia or locally known as Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) an environmental organisation based in Penang Malaysia was saddened to receive news that  Mr. Cicero Guedes, a leader of the Brazilian Landless Workers’ Movement MST, was brutally murdered in the vicinity of the Cambahyba sugar plant, in the municipality t of Campos dos Goytacazes in Rio de Janeiro, on Friday January 25th 2013.  It was reported that he received some twelve shots to the head while he was bicycling away from a settlement of landless families, which members of MST have occupied. They had occupied the land for six years but were evicted by the police in 2006. In November 2012 they reoccupied it.

The MST received the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”) in the Swedish Parliament in 1991.  MST campaigns for land reform and the rights of landless workers.  It is considered the best organised social movement in Brazil.

SAM strongly condemns the brutal murder.  We convey or deepest condolences to the members of his bereaved family.

Conflicts over land in Brazil have risen and, in the period 2010-2011, the number of activists who received threats has increased from 125 to 347.

Last year, gunmen shot and killed another indigenous leader of the landless, Nisio Gomes. He led a group of indigenous peasants which had returned to its land after being evicted by ranchers.   Police arrested a number of people belonging to a private security firm suspected of having been hired to murder Gomes. Two suspects confessed to being hired to kill the indigenous leader.

Gomes belonged to the Guarani, the largest indigenous group in Brazil with approximately 46,000 members spread over seven states. They are frequently forced from their ancestral land by farmers and receive no adequate protection from the authorities.

We call on the Brazilian government to recognise and protect the land rights of the indigenous people and to mete out harsh punishment to those who violate their rights.

We urge the Brazilian government to give high priority to investigating the case and prosecuting and severely punishing those responsible for the murder.

We look forward to your response to our letter, soonest.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

SM Mohamed Idris

President, Sahabat Alam Malaysia