EFEBy Maria Angelica Troncoso Rio de Janeiro

Eliana Sousa Silva does not seem afraid when she reports how Brazilian police constantly abuse the inhabitants of Mare, a cluster of 16 favelas (shantytowns) in Rio de Janeiro, though her work has aroused so many threats that she now fears for her life.

In Brazil, "being a defender of human rights, being an activist in that field is very hard," the 57-year-old campaigner told EFE.

For many years, the Mare district has been scourged by violence, drug trafficking and insecurity.

The recurring police operations there have intensified this year under the new governor of Rio de Janeiro state, Wilson Witzel, a former judge and naval officer who has essentially given the cops a free hand.