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  • Marielle Franco nominated for European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize, which honors human rights activists

    Marielle Franco nominated for European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize, which honors human rights activists | Photo: radioestacionsur.org

Published 19 September 2019

The Brazilian activists, who was gunned down in Rio de Janeiro for protecting the rights of favela residents, is nominated for prestigious EU human rights award.

Marielle Franco, a Brazilian human rights activist, is one of four Brazilian activists who were announced this Thursday as nominees for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize 2019.

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The European Parliament (EP) Sakharov Prize is awarded every year to individuals and organizations that excel in the defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

This year, the list of nominees, which is proposed by EP members, names four Brazilian activists, including Marielle Franco, a deceased Black Brazilian human rights activist, who was openly bisexual and born in a favela. 

Marielle was an ardent activists for the civil rights of the favela residents, majority Afrodescendents in Rio de Janeiro, who continually denounced their extrajudicial executions and rights violations at the hands of city police.

Shortly before she brutally gunned down in March 2018, Marielle was appointed to monitor the federal intervention into public security in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Her assassination remains unsolved.

Another person nominated was the politician Jean Wyllys, who, in 2010, became the first openly homosexual activist to be elected to the Brazilian Congress.

During two terms as a legislator, Jean Wyllys de Matos Santos introduced laws on issues such as homosexual marriage, legalization of abortion, regulation of sex work, gender identity and legalization of cannabis.

The former lawmaker said of the nomination "honors the people or organizations that dedicated their lives or actions to defend human rights and freedom."

The other two candidates from Brazil are  the 89-year-old Brazilian indigenous leader Raoni Metuktire, known internationally for the struggle to preserve the Amazon and the customs of indigenous peoples and the environmentalist Claudelice Silva dos Santos.

The Sakharov Prize, worth €50,000, over US$55,000, has been awarded since 1988 by Parliament in honour of Soviet scientist, Andrei Sakharov and past recipients include Nelson Mandela in 1988 and Malala Yufsafzai six years ago.

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