The targeted assassination of Marielle Franco, a 38-year-old human rights defender and city councilor known for denouncing police abuses and extrajudicial executions, is a sickening development that must be fully investigated, said Amnesty International today.
Marielle was shot dead in Rio de Janeiro’s Estacio neighborhood on Wednesday night. Her driver was also killed and a press officer was injured in the attack.
“This a chilling development and is yet another example of the dangers that human rights defenders face in Brazil. As a member of Rio de Janeiro’s State Human Rights Commission, Marielle worked tirelessly to defend the rights of black women and young people in the favelas and other marginalized communities,” said Jurema Werneck, Amnesty International’s Brazil director.
“The Brazilian authorities must ensure a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into this tragic killing. The State must protect witnesses and survivors, identify the motive for Marielle’s murder and bring the culprits to justice. The government cannot stand by and let human rights defenders be killed with impunity.”
In 2016, Marielle was elected to the Rio de Janeiro city council. Two weeks ago, she was appointed rapporteur for a special commission that the city council created to monitor the ongoing federal intervention in Rio de Janeiro and the militarization of public security.