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UA 449/90 - Brazil: Manoel Pereira da Silva

, Index number: AMR 19/030/1990

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/30/90
Distr: UA/SC
UA 449/90 Death Threats 7 November 1990
BRAZIL: Manoel Pereira da Silva,
Director of the Rubbertappers, Smalholders and
Rural Workers Union (SINPASA) of Rio Branco
Amnesty International is concerned at the failure of the authorities
to take action in connection with continuing threats to the lives of
rubbertapper leaders in Acre state. These threats have intensified as
the trial approaches of two men accused of murdering rubbertapper leader
Chico Mendes on 22 December 1988.
Since July Manoel Pereira da Silva has been receiving threats to
his life as a result of his leadership of attempts to stop deforestation
on a ranch and on the neighbouring Figueira Extractive Reserve near Rio
Branco. They began in July when a religious service he was attending
was interrupted by threats against him and other participants.
Unknown men arrived at his house in the Figueira reserve in August
and threatened to enter it, saying they were going to kill him. Manoel
Pereira da Silva was not at home and so escaped attack.
A few days later, while returning home, he was confronted by another
man while on a bus near the Figueira reserve. The man said he had come
to Acre to do away with him.
Requests by SINPASA and the National Rubbertappers Council for
protection of Manoel Pereira da Silva were apparently denied by the
governor's office and state secretary of public security, on the grounds
that there were no proofs of any crime having been committed. In
mid-September, after informing the Federal Police of the threats, Manoel
Pereira da Silva went into hiding in Rio Branco. His family left their
home in the Figueira reserve and are subsisting with the help of friends.
Manoel Pereira da Silva has been active in the rural union movement since
1981. In 1989 a ranch owner tried to cut down 2,000 hectares of forest
already occupied by rubbertappers. A protest action (empate) by Manoel
Pereira da Silva and other rubbertappers temporarily stopped the
deforestation. The owner then presented an environmental impact
statement to IBAMA, the Brazilian environmental protection agency, which
gave him permission to deforest the area lying next to the Figueira
Extractive Reserve decreed in 1988. In mid-1990 Manoel Pereira da Silva
charged that lumbermen were trying to remove timber from the reserve;
he then began receiving threats to his life. Several rubbertapper
leaders in Acre who received similar threats during the past 10 years
were subsequently killed. Only in the Chico Mendes case, which has
attracted considerable international attention, have suspects been
arrested and indicted. In other cases, local, state and federal
authorities have declined to provide protection to threatened peasant
leaders and have failed to take effective action to investigate their
killings or to bring to justice those responsible for organizing such
murders. (See ua 205/90, AMR 19/13/90 and UA 217/90, AMR19/15/90 for
details of threats to other rubbertapper leaders in Acre.)
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/airmail letters:
- expressing concern at reported death threats to Manoel Pereira da Silva
in Rio Branco, Acre;
- urging that Manoel Pereira da Silva and other threatened rubbertapper
leaders receive special protection to prevent their being assassinated;
- calling for investigation and prosecution of outstanding murder cases
of rubbertapper leaders, including Wilson Pinheiro (1980) and Ivair
Higino (1988).
(Minister of Justice)
Exmo Sr Jarbas Passarinho
Ministro da Justiça
Ministerio da Justiça
Esplanada dos Ministérios
70064 Brasilia DF, Brazil
Telegrams: Ministro Justica, Brasilia, Brazil
Telexes: 611003 MNJU BR, 611088 MNJU BR or 612313 MNJU BR
(Secretary of Public Security)
Secretário de Segurança Pública
Estado de Acre
Dr. Carlos Alberto da Silva
Av. Getúlio Vargas
Palácio da Secretarias, Subsolo
69.900, Rio Branco, AC, Brazil
Telegrams: Secretario de Seguranca Publica da Silva, Rio
Branco, AC, Brazil
(Superintendent of Federal Police, Acre)
Sr. Superintendente da Polícia Federal do Acre
Superintendencia Regional
Rua Floriano Peixote 744, Centro
69.000 Rio Branco, AC, Brazil
Telegrams: Acre Policia Superintendente, Rio Branco, AC,
(National Council of Rubbertappers)
Conselho Nacional dos Seringueiros
Rua Thaumatergo Azevedo 51
69.900 Rio Branco, AC, Brazil
and to diplomatic representatives of Brazil in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office if sending appeals after 31 December 1990.

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