UN repudiates violence against Bruno and Dom and demands greater security for indigenists

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement this Thursday (16) in which it regrets the violence against indigenous activist Bruno Pereira and journalist Dom Phillips and appealed to the Brazilian government to increase the security of activists working in the defense of indigenous peoples and the environment.

In a text signed by the office’s spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, the UN considers that “attacks and threats against environmental human rights defenders and indigenous peoples, including those in voluntary isolation, continue to be persistent”, and that protection for these people needs to be strengthened.

“We urge the Brazilian authorities to increase their efforts to protect human rights defenders and indigenous peoples from all forms of violence and discrimination, by both state and non-state actors, and to take measures to prevent and protect indigenous territories from incursions by illegal actors, including strengthening government bodies responsible for protecting indigenous peoples and the environment,” Shamdasani wrote.

In addition, the spokeswoman called for justice. “We are deeply saddened by the information about the murder of Dom Philipps and Bruno Araújo Pereira. This brutal act of violence is appalling and we appeal to the State authorities to ensure that the investigations are impartial, transparent and thorough, and that reparation is granted to the victims’ families.”

the case

Dom and Bruno disappeared on June 5, after being seen for the last time in the São Rafael community, near the entrance to the Vale do Javari Indigenous Land. They traveled around the region interviewing indigenous and riverine people to produce reports for a book on invasions of indigenous areas.

Vale do Javari, the indigenous land with the highest number of isolated peoples in the world, has been pressured for years by the intense action of drug traffickers, fishermen, prospectors and illegal loggers who try to expel traditional peoples from the region.

Dom lived in Salvador, Bahia, and had been reporting on Brazil for 15 years for the New York Times and Washington Post, as well as for the British newspaper The Guardian. Bruno was a servant of Funai (National Indian Foundation), but he had been on leave since he was dismissed from the head of the Coordination of Isolated Indians and Recent Contact, in 2019.

On Wednesday (15), fisherman Amarildo da Costa, who had been arrested by the Federal Police (PF) on suspicion of involvement in the case, confessed to murdering Bruno and Dom. After the report, he took police officers to the place where he buried the bodies.

According to the PF superintendent in Amazonas, Eduardo Fontes, Amarildo informed that the boat in which the journalist and the indigenist were traveling had been sunk and that the place where the bodies were buried was difficult to access, more than 3 km from where the fisherman committed the crime.

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