Amazon under siege: An interview with environmental and human rights defender Claudelice dos Santos


  • Larissa Bombardi Universidade Estadual Paulista / Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Victor Porto Almeida University of Essex


Claudelice dos Santos is a human rights defender who holds a bachelor’s degree in law and who is the coordinator of the “Instituto Zé Claudio e Maria” - an organization for human and environment rights. She became a well-recognised human rights defender through her struggle for justice following the killing of her brother José Claudio Ribeiro dos Santos and his wife, Maria do Espírito Santo, in 2011. Claudelice had fought alongside her brother and sister-in-law for the right to access to land and denounced human rights violations resulting from land grabbing, logging, and crimes against the environment. She was subjected to several threats due to her human rights activities. Claudelice is one of the nominees for the 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, organised by the European Parliament. The interview was conducted in December of 2021 by the geographer Larissa Bombardi, currently based in Belgium, and Victor de Almeida, a lawyer and PhD candidate, based in UK.

Author Biographies

Larissa Bombardi, Universidade Estadual Paulista / Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Larissa Bombardi, is an Associate Professor at Department of Geography – University of São Paulo – Brazil, currently living in Brussels. She is a specialist on the subject of pesticides use for the last 12 years, with dozens of lectures, several published articles and more than 100 interviews given on the matter, in national (Brazil) and international means of communication. She is the author of the atlases: “A Geography of Agrotoxins Use in Brazil and its Relations to the European Union”, launched in 2019 in its English edition in Europe (Scotland and Germany) and “Geography of Asymmetries: molecular colonialism and poisoning Circle in Trade Relations Between Mercosur and European Union”, launched in 2021 at European Parliament. She is also a member of the National Forum to Combat the Impacts of Pesticides (Brazil) and Board Member of the international organization “Justice Pesticide”.

Victor Porto Almeida, University of Essex

Victor Porto Almeida, is a PhD Candidate in Criminology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex. His doctorate is funded by the prestigious Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England AHRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership; the AHRC is a research council part of the UK Research and Innovation body. With a background in Law, he has solid experience working with law enforcement on green harms and crimes in the Brazilian Amazon. Victor also holds an MSc in Transnational Crime, Justice and Security (University of Glasgow), a qualification funded by the Chevening Scholarships Programme, from the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Currently, he is conducting novel research to understand the impact of the timber industry on ecosystems and the Indigenous Peoples in the Brazilian Amazon.



2022-07-08 — Updated on 2022-07-12