On March 14, 2023, the murder of Marielle Franco will complete 5 years. Marielle was a black, bisexual, activist and intellectual, mother, child of the Maré favela, defender of human rights, parliamentarian elected by the PSOL to the city council of Rio in 2016, and who, throughout her career, fought against police violence and the genocide of the black population. Because of her story, Marielle is a symbol of resilience and leadership that inspires black women around the world.
However, we still have to fight for justice. On this date, in 2018, a time when the State of Rio de Janeiro was under federal intervention by the Temer government, Marielle was on her way home when she was executed along with her driver Anderson Gomes, in the center of the city of Rio. She was hit by four projectiles to the head and Anderson was shot three times in the back. He also died, leaving a son, who was then one and a half years old.
Despite having reached half a decade since the murder, and Ronnie Lessa and Élcio de Queiroz, accused of being the perpetrators of the crime, being deprived of liberty, the case does not have any conviction, since the popular jury still has not date to happen.
In addition, the victims’ family and lawyers are denied access to the investigation into the principals, which is why a writ of mandamus was filed, which is pending before the Superior Court of Justice.
Such a scenario, added to the changes in the command of the investigations and the fact that the relatives and legal representatives of the victims are informed about them by the media, translates the structural difficulty of access to Justice by the relatives of black women and, in particular, defenders of human rights victims of state violence.
The authorities have an obligation to solve this crime, which exposes, for Brazil and the world, the constant violations of fundamental rights that permeate peripheral populations and favelas in our country.
As a result, as a response to Marielle’s murder, the family created the Marielle Franco Institute in 2019. The institute seeks to inspire, connect and empower black, LBTQIAPN+ and peripheral women to continue moving society’s structures for a fairer and more egalitarian world and for more black and favela women to occupy politics and not be interrupted.
In this context, on July 14, 2021, the organization articulated the creation of the Justice Committee by Marielle and Anderson together with the families of the victims, the mandate of councilwoman Mônica Benício, and the organizations Amnesty International Brazil, Justiça Global, Coalizão Negra por Direitos and Terra de Direitos, in order to fight for justice in the case. Today, the committee is one of the Institute’s main fronts.
In addition, after Marielle’s death, there was an increase in cases of political violence against black, cis and trans women and human rights defenders, historically underrepresented, which mobilized the institute to organize the permanent campaign Não Seremos Interrompidas.
This program is based on a platform through which, together with other civil society organizations, we fight for protection and security for black, LBTQIAPN+ and peripheral women who make themselves available to occupy politics, institutionally or through movements, collectives and organizations.
Since 2020, we have been working to ensure that what happened to Marielle does not happen again, after all, achieving justice for Marielle means that the State, among other measures, must implement actions capable of changing the structural circumstances that promoted and did not prevent human rights violations. like this come true. As a result of our struggle, along with other efforts by society, in 2021, the first Law on National Political Violence was approved, Law 14.192/21.
Furthermore, as part of the celebration of International Women’s Day, on March 8, the federal government sent a series of bills to the Chamber of Deputies, including one that proposes the institution of March 14 as Marielle Franco National Day – -date that will focus on confronting gender and racial political violence.
However, beyond that, it is still necessary to structure a national public policy for prevention and protection for victims. This agenda is defended by the Marielle Franco Institute, together with civil society partners, before the National Congress, Legislative Assemblies and City Councils located in various parts of the country.
The murder of Marielle and Anderson marked Brazilian and world political history, demonstrating the fragility of democracy in our country, and raised the importance of debating political violence based on gender and race, LGBTQIAPN+phobic lethal violence and attacks on human rights defenders humans in Brazil. This is half a decade of absence of answers, which reflects negligence and structural impunity in cases of crimes against the lives of human rights defenders.
Therefore, on March 14, 2023, we will echo even louder our cry of “Justice for Marielle and Anderson”. Finding out who ordered Marielle’s death means more than providing an answer to society and the victims’ families.
With this, the Brazilian State has the possibility of making the case paradigmatic, so that better political and legal practices emerge from it that help human rights defenders to remain alive and safe. All of this is also part of Marielle’s legacy.
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