Letter to the Brazilian Ambassador to Canada Concerning the Assassination of Sister Dorothy Stang

Tuesday, March 15 2005

His Excellency Valdemar Caneiro Leão
Brazilian Ambassador to Canada
450 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, ON
K1N 6M8

Fax: (613) 237-6144

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

The Bishops of Canada were horrified to hear the news that Sister Dorothy Stang, S.N.D. de N., was assassinated with three point blank gunshots to the head while working near Anapú in the state of Pará, Brazil. This woman, a naturalized Brazilian citizen of 73 years of age, had given her life’s effort for over two decades to landless peasants through her ministry with the Brazilian Church’s Land Pastoral Commission.

The day after this gruesome murder, February 13, 2005, four individuals were detained by the authorities. Two were suspected of committing the crime, one of having given the order to do so, and the fourth was thought to have acted as an intermediary.

We wish to express our heartfelt hope that the government of Brazil do all in its power to bring the murderers to justice. At the same time, however, there is a responsibility on the part of the state to ensure that such brazen acts of violence against those opposing the dominant power of rural elites will not be repeated. We would be interested in knowing what steps your government is taking to address the underlying causes of malnutrition and landlessness which have created unrest in the Amazon region, causes of the violent repression which is so often used against those who struggle for beneficial social change?

Mr. Ambassador, we would be most grateful if you would communicate the concerns of the Canadian bishops to your government. Additionally, we would be most appreciative if you would keep us abreast of steps towards the resolution of the murder of Sister Dorothy.

Yours sincerely,

Most Reverend Blaise Morand
Bishop of Prince Albert
Human Rights Committee

For More Information Contact:
Sylvain Salvas
Director, Communications Service
Tel: (613) 241-9461
Fax: (613) 241-9048