Brazil Confers Decoration Upon Don Pedro Casaldáliga

Jan 2, 2013 | Brasil

Brasilia, Brazil. On December 20th the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, decorated Claretian Don Pedro Casaldáliga, Bishop Emeritus of Sao Félix do Araguaia, and sixteen other persons, among them Bishop Tomás Balduino, for their work in the defense of Human Rights.

Rousseff affirmed that Brazil “learned to admire” Casaldáliga and Bishop Tomás Balduino, also honored today for their support to the Indians, and said that she is proud to be ‘contemporary’ of both.

The President stated that the Brazilian State will dedicate “all means and civilian and police forces available” to ensure the safety and protection of people working “in defense of the excluded”. Rousseff also assured that the defense of human rights is “very important” for her and for her generation, because “they felt in the flesh the abuse of authority and the cruelty of the State”.

Casaldáliga could not receive the prize in person since he is hidden under the protection of the Federal Police because of the upsurge in threats he has received for his years of work on behalf of the Xavante Indians. The Missionary Indigenous Council (CIMI), an organization linked to the Brazilian episcopate, denounced these threats which have doubled in recent weeks, apparently because of the imminent execution of a court order in favor of the Xavante Indians in a land dispute.

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