Press Release

IACHR Condemns Killing of Human Rights Defender in Brazil

September 6, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the killing of Human Rights Defender Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira, attorney and member of the Human Rights Commission of the Brazilian Bar Association in São Paulo, in the city of Caraguatatuba, state of São Paulo, Brazil.

According to information received by the IACHR, on August 23, 2012, Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira was killed in front of his residence with fourteen shots by two unidentified persons who fled the crime scene in a motorcycle. The information available indicates that Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira had made formal complaints concerning alleged acts of corruption and abuse against convicts confined in the Temporary Detention Centre in Caraguatatuba.

In the Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, the Commission expressed its concern on the reprisals against human rights defenders for filing complaints and/or making public acts of corruption of civil servants and human Rights violations.

The IACHR calls to mind that it is the State's obligation to investigate such acts of its own accord and to punish those responsible. The Commission urges the State of Brazil to investigate and legally clarify this crime, and to punish the perpetrators and masterminds.

Therefore, the IACHR urges the State to open lines of investigation that take into consideration if the murder of Diego Luiz Berbare Bandeira was committed for reasons related to his work monitoring acts of corruption in the city of Caraguatatuba. The Commission also urges the government to immediately and urgently adopt all necessary measures to guarantee the rights to life, integrity and security of human rights defenders who perform their work in public office, in social leadership and/or in an elected position.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 115/12