World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Brazil begins operation to save threatened tribe

At last! Brazil begins long-awaited operation to save Earth’s most threatened tribe

6 January 2014


After months of campaigning by Survival International, Brazil’s government has launched a major ground operation to evict illegal invaders from the land of the Awá, Earth’s most threatened tribe .

Soldiers, field workers from Brazil’s indigenous affairs department FUNAI, Environment Ministry special agents and police officers are being dispatched to notify and remove the illegal settlers, ranchers and loggers – many of whom are heavily armed – from the Awá indigenous territory in the North-Eastern Brazilian Amazon.

The operation comes at a crucial time as loggers are closing in on the tribe and more than 30% of the forest has already been destroyed.

In June 2013 Brazil’s military launched a ground operation against illegal logging around the land of the Awá. The forces closed down at least eight saw mills and confiscated and destroyed other machinery, but they did not remove the loggers and ranchers from inside the Indians’ land.

An Awá man told Survival, ‘For a long time we’ve been asking for the invaders to be removed… we don’t want to see the loggers destroying our forest. We like to see the forest standing.’

This break-through operation follows a high-profile campaign by Survival International, which has been backed by celebrities such as Hollywood stars Colin Firth and Gillian Anderson, UK fashion designer Vivienne Westwoodand Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, who recently visited the tribe to document their plight.

Salgado’s images and the Awá’s shocking story reached millions of people worldwide as they were featured in Vanity Fair, the Sunday Times and Brazilian news outlet O Globo.

Since the launch of the campaign in April 2012, Survival’s supporters have sent more than 55,000 letters to Brazil’s Minister of Justice, urging him to evict the invaders, and have spread the campaign’s awáicon logoaround the world’s landmarks, such as Brazil’s Sugarloaf Mountain, South Africa’s Table Mountain, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Americas’ leading human rights body, also demanded answers from the Brazilian government, having received an urgent petition from Survival and Brazilian NGO CIMI.

As a result of the global campaign, the Awá were put at the top of FUNAI’s priority list in April 2012, but it has taken the government until now to start evicting the illegal invaders, while more forest has been destroyed.


The Awá are one of the last nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes in Brazil and depend entirely on the rainforest. They have been finding it increasingly difficult to find game and are scared to go hunting for fear of encountering the armed loggers.

Around 100 Awá are uncontacted and are particularly vulnerable to attacks and the spread of diseases to which they have little immunity.

Survival has welcomed the start of the evictions operation, and is now urging the Brazilian authorities to put in place a long-term solution to stop the invaders from returning, and to guarantee the safety of the 450-strong tribe.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘This is a momentous and potentially life-saving occasion for the Awá. Their many thousands of supporters worldwide can be proud of the change they have helped the tribe bring about. But all eyes are now on Brazil to ensure it completes the operation before the World Cup kicks off in June, and protects Awá land once and for all

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:

Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>

ALSO:

Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>

ALSO:

Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news