Post submitted by Saurav Jung Thapa, former Associate Director, HRC Global   

The brutal assassination last week of Rio de Janeiro City Council member Marielle Franco has prompted a massive international outpouring of anger and grief.  A fearless human rights activist who was LGBTQ and Black, 38-year-old Franco was killed along with her driver in a targeted drive-by shooting.

Franco, considered a rising political star of the Party of Socialism and Liberty, was elected in 2016 to Rio’s 51-member City Council where she was the sole Black woman.  Raised in one of Rio’s notorious favelas, she had distinguished herself as a voice for marginalized groups including LGBTQ people, women, Black and poor people.  

The assassination occurred a month after Brazil’s embattled conservative president Michel Temer ordered troops onto the streets of Rio to restore stability following an upsurge of violence.  Franco was an outspoken opponent of the military deployment and had recently been appointed to a city commission to monitor it.  She had denounced the killing of two young Black men just days before her murder and attacked the brutal policing methods of security forces.

It is yet unclear who is behind Franco’s murder, as she had many powerful enemies with a motive to kill her.  The bullets used in her murder were reportedly issued by the police.

Tens of thousands of people marched throughout Brazil this past weekend to protest Franco’s killing and commemoration events have been held throughout the world.  Civil society groups in Latin America and around the world, including HRC partners Ovejas Negras in Uruguay and Esmules in El Salvador, have condemned the assassination and are calling on the Brazilian government to conduct a swift and thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.  

HRC stands in solidarity with LGBTQ advocates around the world as we mourn the heartbreaking loss of an inspiring and fearless colleague.

Read more about HRC Global’s work here.

Filed under: International

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