Brazil: Indigenous leader killed by miners as they make bold incursions into protected areas, following Bolsonaro's encouragement

On 23rd July 2019, a group of heavily armed miners invaded indigenous territory in the North East of Brazil, close to the border with French Guyana, and stabbed indigenous leader, Emyra Wajãpi, to death.  Civil society organisations and international institutions such as the United Nations have called for an immediate investigation of the case, accusing Bolsonaro´s administration of inciting this type of violence by encouraging the invasion of indigenous territories for economic activities such as resource extraction. 


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29 July 2019

Murder of Brazilian indigenous leader a ‘worrying symptom’ of land invasion

Author: United Nations

…In the wake of the murder of indigenous leader Emrya Wajãpi in Brazil, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has called on the country’s authorities to “react quickly and decisively” to protect the rights of indigenous peoples on their lands. Emrya Wajãpi was killed on July 23 in Amapá...According to media reports, witnesses saw a number of gold miners enter the protected reserve of the Wajãpi community, then stab their leader to death. “The murder of Emrya Wajãpi, leader of the indigenous Wajãpi people, is tragic and reprehensible in its own right”, said Ms. Bachelet on Monday.  “It is also a disturbing symptom of the growing problem of encroachment on indigenous land – especially forests – by miners, loggers and farmers in Brazil.” According to the UN human rights chief, the proposed policy of the Brazilian Government to open the Amazon up to mining could lead to “incidents of violence, intimidation and killings.” The UN human rights chief underlined that the protection of indigenous peoples and lands is not only an issue in Brazil, but the whole world. While some progress has been made in recent years, enforcement of existing laws and policies has been weak…


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27 July 2019

Miners Kill Indigenous Leader in Brazil During Invasion of Protected Land

Author: Ernesto Londoño, The New York Times

Several dozen heavily armed miners dressed in military fatigues invaded an indigenous village in remote northern Brazil this week and fatally stabbed at least one of the community’s leaders, officials said... The killing comes as miners and loggers are making increasingly bold and defiant incursions into protected areas, including indigenous territories, with the explicit encouragement of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro. Officials warned the conflict could escalate in the coming hours. Mr. Bolsonaro has said that indigenous communities are in control of vast territories that should be opened up to industries to make them profitable. Land invasions in indigenous territories are on the rise across Brazil, where indigenous leaders say they regularly come under threat by miners, loggers and farmers... Leaders of the Wajãpi indigenous community made urgent pleas to the federal government on Saturday, warning that the conflict... risked turning into a blood bath... Rodolfe Rodrigues, the senator,...who belongs to... [the] opposition..., said Mr. Bolsonaro’s views... on the rights of native communities had put [them] in mortal danger....A representative for the president declined to comment ...Mr. Rodrigues identified the slain indigenous leader as Emyra Wajãpi. He said the miners tossed his body in a river after stabbing him to death.... 

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26 July 2019

'He wants to destroy us': Bolsonaro poses gravest threat in decades, Amazon tribes say

Author: The Guardian (UK)

…For all Jair Bolsonaro’s well-documented hostility to indigenous rights, an aerial assault on the Amazon seems far-fetched. But campaigners believe that under Brazil’s new administration indigenous communities face their most severe threat since military rulers bulldozed highways through the region nearly five decades ago, leaving behind a trail of death and environmental destruction. “Not since the dictatorship have we lived through such a tough moment,” said Jaime Siqueira, the head of the Indigenous Work Centre (CTI), a Brazilian NGO supporting indigenous communities fighting to defend their lands. Ewerton Marubo, a leader from the Javari Valley indigenous territory – an almost Portugal-sized hinterland sheltering Brazil’s largest concentration of uncontacted tribes – said its 6,000 inhabitants were bracing for a new era of ruin. “We are in a situation of great danger. [Bolsonaro] is proving himself to be the number-one enemy of the indigenous,” he said…“The current government’s dream is to exterminate the indigenous people so they can take our land,” claimed Kevin Mayoruna…a leader from Javari’s Matsés tribe who recently staged a protest in his village on the Jaquirana River. Marcos Mayoruna, another Matsés leader, alleged that by deliberately failing to stop invaders entering the Javari reserve, and simultaneously depriving indigenous communities of healthcare and education, Bolsonaro’s administration was trying to force them from lands that could then be commercially developed…


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12 July 2019

Yanomami Amazon reserve invaded by 20,000 miners; Bolsonaro fails to act

Author: Mongabay

An estimated 20,000 illegal goldminers (garimpeiros) have entered Yanomami Park, one of Brazil’s biggest indigenous reserves, located in Roraima and Amazonas states, near the border with Venezuela. The miners are well funded, likely by entrepreneurs, who pay workers and provide them with earthmoving equipment, supplies and airplanes. Three illegal air strips and three open-pit goldmines are in operation within the Yanomami indigenous territory. Indigenous leaders blame President Bolsonaro, with his incendiary anti-indigenous language, and his administration, with its policies that have defunded and gutted agencies responsible for law enforcement in the Amazon. Bolsonaro claims indigenous people want mining and industrial agribusiness on their lands, but the Yanomami vehemently deny such desires. They say they want self-determination over the types of businesses on their lands. One such new, sustainable business is a chocolate concession that would preserve the rainforest and offer income…Thousands of goldminers (garimpeiros) have illegally invaded Yanomami Park, one of Brazil’s largest indigenous territories, officially demarcated by the Brazilian government in 1992, and covering 96,650 square kilometres (37,320 square miles) of rainforest in the states of Roraima and Amazonas, near the border with Venezuela. An incursion of this scale has not occurred for many years…


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