Laísa Santos Sampaio and her family face death threats for protecting the Amazon.
Laísa Santos, a mother of eight and a school teacher, has been at the forefront of her community's opposition to the destruction of the Amazon rain forest in Pará state, Brazil.
With her local women's artisan project (Grupo de Trabalhadoras Artesanais Extrativistas), Laísa promotes sustainable development and advocates against illegal logging in her region. Their opposition to logging has placed project members at considerable risk in a region in which illegal exploitation of the forest is commonplace and where there are continued killings and attacks against those who defend the Amazon.
Laísa and her family has been the target of several death threats and attacks. Between 2011 and 2012, at least 20 people, including Laísa Santos' sister and brother-in-law — Maria and José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva — were killed because of their campaigning on environmental issues and against illegal logging in the region.
The person accused of ordering their deaths was not arrested and Laísa believes he is one of the people who continue to threaten her.
Support Laísa and her family by urging the Brazilian government to publicly recognize their legitimate human rights work, investigate attacks against them and provide effective protection.
Dear Governor Simäo Robison Oliveira Jatene,
Laísa Santos Sampaio, a schoolteacher and environmental activist from the Praia alta Piranheira settlement, Pará State, has been repeatedly threatened and fears for her life. Two members of her immediate family were killed in 2011, following similar threats.
She is one of scores of human rights defenders working in the Amazon to defend the forest's ecosystem, communities and livelihoods in the face of violence. Meanwhile illegal loggers, charcoal producers, ranchers and land grabbers operate with impunity.
Please act immediately to:
-- effectively protect Laísa Santos Sampaio
-- thoroughly investigate all threats against her
-- address the entrenched criminality that lies behind such violence and protect communities at risk.
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