- Kilomba Collective
Black People Rights are Human Rights. Black Migrants Rights are Human Rights.
“Brazil is a mother, a country that embraces everyone. I cannot understand how this mother could have killed a son as good as Moïse” – said Nkusu, Moïse Kabagambe’s mother, after her son was beaten to death in Brazil on Jan 24
Moïse was a Congolese refugee living in Rio de Janeiro. He escaped war and death hoping to find a safe place to live in Brazil. A chance to live. However, his dreams were brutally ended when five men tied his feet and hands and beat him with a baseball bat and pieces of wood simply because he demanded his payment for two days of work. Moïse did not have his rights and humanity respected. In a neighborhood commanded mostly by the militia of Rio de Janeiro, the owners of the kiosk where he worked, considered him “too entitled” to think he deserved his wages.
Moïse Kabagambe left us early and tragically– he was only 24 years old. He is one more victim of anti-Blackness that structures our society. Brazil has the largest Black population outside Africa and the second-largest in the world after Nigeria. Yet, a young Black person is killed every 23 minutes in Brazil. Black youth are up to 12 times more likely to be murdered than their white counterparts.
The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution in December 1990, states that “migrant workers and members of their families shall have the right to liberty and security of person” (Article 16) and that “the right to life of migrant workers and members of their families shall be protected by law” (Article 8). However, the human rights of Black migrants and our Black siblings continue to be violated.
In an interview for the Brazilian newspaper Extra, Lotsove Lolo Lavy Ivone, Moïse’s mother says that her family arrived in Brazil in 2014, when Moïse was 11 years old, thinking that in Brazil “everyone would live together, that everyone would be the same." But this heinous act made clear that life in Brazil is very different for Black people and Black migrants.
“They killed my son here as they killed my people in my country. They took a rope, put my son on the floor, and pulled him with a rope. Why? Because he was Black? They killed my son because he was Black because he was African” - said Lotsove Lolo Lavy Ivone.
In a note, the Congolese community in Brazil highlighted xenophobia and racism as causes of violence committed against immigrants like Moïse in Brazilian society:
“(...) This brutal act, which not only manifests the structural racism of Brazilian society but clearly demonstrates xenophobia in its forms against foreigners, we of the Congolese community will not be silent in the face of it (...)”.
As a community of Black Brazilian immigrants and allies, we at ABA, Kilomba Collective, and the Defend Democracy in Brazil Committee, stand in solidarity with Moïse Kabagambe's family and friends. No more genocide! No more war! No more death! We have the right to live!
We demand that, as stated in the Article 16 of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, “Migrant workers and members of their families shall be entitled to effective protection by the State against violence, physical injury, threats, and intimidation, whether by public officials or by private individuals, groups or institutions”.
Black people’s Rights are Human Rights, and Black Migrants Rights are Human Rights.
Moïse Kabagambe will not be forgotten.
Moïse Kabagambe’s rights, will be demandedt.
Justice for Moïse!
ABA: Afro-Brazilian Alliance
Defend Democracy in Brazil Committee New York
Afro-Brazilian Rights Working Group of the US Network for Democracy in Brazil