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Friday, March 24, 2017
Brazil: priest receives death threats
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¬†A priest working on land rights in Brazil is being targeted with death threats by those opposed to his struggle for the poor. Military police in the Brazilian province of Xinguara have received detailed information that three gunmen have been hired to assassinate a CAFOD partner. Father Henri Burin des Roziers works for the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) of the Brazilian Catholic Church. CPT kept the threat to Father Henri quiet for over a month to allow the police to investigate, but to date have received no information regarding the progress or outcome of the investigation. Father Henri and his colleagues at CPT are working to secure the freedom of bonded labourers who are currently in the hands of big landowners, by It is believed the gunman have been offered 50,000 Brazilian Reais (about £13,700). The threats represent more than just words ≠ as shown by the assassination of American nun Dorothy Stang in the region only two years ago because of her stance against injustice. As with Sister Dorothy, Father Henri, now 74 years old, turned his faith into a lifelong commitment to bring to justice those responsible for some of the worst human rights violations. After the brutal murder of Sister Dorothy, Father Henri was offered police protection, but CPT says this alone won't make a difference. According to CPT, 814 assassinations have been registered in the State of Para between 1971 and 2006, of which 568 have still not been investigated. Of those cases that were investigated, only 92 criminal cases resulted, and a pitiful 22 taken to court. In all, only 16 gunmen and six of those who "commissioned" assassinations have been convicted. To add insult to injury, of those six who were convicted, only one is in prison. During a recent interview, CAFOD asked Father Henri whether the death threats and the impunity make him feel afraid. He explained: "When you choose to be a priest, you give up important things, like the close emotional bond that most people have with their partner and their children. But in return you win the freedom to run risks." Source: CAFOD
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