Terror, murder, persecution

On Tuesday, Angela Merkel embarked on her longest foreign trip to date: Until 20. In May, the German chancellor will visit various countries in Latin America, kicking off with a visit to Brazil. Human rights organizations in the country have high hopes for the visit – not least because of the renewed murders of activists and terror against the landless in recent times. There is even a bounty on one bishop's head. –

Amazon bishop Erwin Krautler of Austria, who has a bounty of nearly 400 million dollars on his head.000 euros, and two other bishops threatened with murder, denounce the prevailing lawlessness and impunity before the National Congress in Brasilia and call on the government once again to finally intervene.In the Amazonian state of Rondonia, Archbishop Moacyr Grecchi appeals to the nation to stop accepting "the terror and violence of large landowners, illegal logging companies and their pistoleiros" against small farmers and landless families. The social movements are criminalized, the little people live in constant fear and insecurity, and are victims of a wave of violence. The archbishop stresses that "in the agricultural development model, based on large-scale land ownership and export monocultures such as sugar cane, violence is an important component"."Massacres of landless remain unpunished after a decade – and a big farmer who had been sentenced to 30 years in prison for ordering the murder of jungle missionary Dorothy Stang was suddenly acquitted earlier in the week. Worldwide indignation was the consequence – already the government in Brazil fears possible image loss. According to Paulo Vannuchi, the minister in charge of human rights, the acquittal is a celebration of impunity. Since the world just celebrated the 60. The fact that Brazil is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights is particularly frightening and could damage Brazil's reputation. Who opposes, will be eliminated "Whoever is in the way will be shot – whoever opposes will be eliminated," is how Krautler and the two other threatened bishops react to the scandalous verdict. Krautler, who comes from Austria, instead vehemently demands the punishment of the numerous people behind the Stang murder of 2005, who are still at liberty. A consortium of land speculators and logging companies had planned the crime down to the smallest detail. Because of such statements, death threats and psychological terror against the bishop are increasing; he is guarded by police around the clock."A license to kill, an incentive for further crimes" is what the Episcopal Pastoral Care for the Soil (CPT) calls the acquittal of the big farmer. Now, in the Amazonian state of Para, not a single person responsible for the murder of human rights activists, small farmers or rural union leaders is behind bars."What do I say to Christians in the U.S?", asks David Stang (70) the brother of the murdered missionary, in the courtroom of the Amazonian city of Belem. "The course of the trial is typical of this region – this is how it goes here day after day." According to court experts, very few murders are atoned for. Most of those convicted are released after a relatively short time, often by flight. In April, an environmental activist was shot dead while publicly protesting the destruction of the jungle for soy and sugar cane farms. Shortly before his liquidation, he, like Dorothy Stang, had told the authorities that he was to be murdered – to no avail. Brazil: Great expectations for Merkel's visit Brazilian human rights organizations have high hopes for the upcoming visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Austrian counterpart Alfred Gusenbauer. "We expect clear words from them on everyday torture, arbitrary detentions, and terror and violence against environmental and human rights activists," the head of Brazil's Episcopal prison chaplaincy, Gunther Zgubic, told the Catholic News Agency (KNA) in Sao Paulo.More than ever, European leaders need to show solidarity with those who are fighting for true democracy in Brazil and risking their lives in the process. Zgubic made special reference to the situation in Amazonia. There, three bishops are currently receiving death threats because of their commitment to civil rights, among them Erwin Krautler, who comes from Austria.Zgubic expressed the expectation that ies of sexual abuse of girls and trafficking in women would also be addressed. At the same time, he strongly opposed the planned signing of a German-Brazilian energy agreement. This would support environmentally harmful energy concepts. The increasing cultivation of sugar cane for the production of ethanol fuel promotes the destruction of virgin forests and is at the expense of food production. Meeting with church officials Zgubic called for negotiating minimum social and environmental standards with Brazil for goods imported by Germany. Merkel, as leader of a Christian party, must speak out for the realization of Christian social values and for a humane market economy, he said.The Chancellor is visiting the Netherlands on her longest trip abroad to date, from 13. to 20. May Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. Merkel meets with civil society representatives in both Brazil and Colombia. These include culture, the media, science and trade unions, as well as the churches. In addition, according to the Latin American Bishops' Council (CELAM), a dialogue with cardinals and bishops from Latin America and the Caribbean is planned in Lima on the fringes of the EU-Latin America summit.

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