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Brazil: Uncontacted Indians Face Genocide


Brazil: Uncontacted Indians Face Genocide

A small tribe of uncontacted Indians in the Brazilian Amazon is facing annihilation as loggers invade their land, forcing them to flee further and further into the forest.

Logging companies are chopping down the Indians' forest in the Rio Pardo area in the states of Amazonas and Mato Grosso, despite repeated reports of the existence of isolated Indians in the area. Empty Indian villages have been found with footprints by the streams, and signs that the Indians have left in a hurry.

'The Indians will be annihilated if we don't act now,' says Sydney Possuelo, head of the isolated Indians unit of the government's Indians affairs department, FUNAI. 'To witness a people being annihilated without even giving them the opportunity to scream, is a scandal.' He believes there may be three other groups of uncontacted Indians in the region.

Elsewhere in Brazil, three long-running Survival campaigns have helped Indians win back their land in recent months. The Awá, the Makuxi and other tribes of Raposa-Serra do Sol and two Guarani communities have all had their land officially recognised.

Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, 'It took over twenty years for the Awá and the Makuxi to win back their land. The Indians of Rio Pardo don't have this long. Brazil must act now to protect them and stop the loggers - otherwise yet another Brazilian tribe will be consigned to history. The annihilation of a tribe, however small, is of course genocide.'

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