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

 

Westminster: NZ PM Condemns London Attack

“London is a place many thousands of New Zealanders have visited and called home, and where many more have friends and family based, so this attack feels very close to home,” Mr English says. More>>

ALSO:

Amnesty: Campaign Mass Hangings And Extermination At Syrian Prison

A chilling new report by Amnesty International exposes the Syrian government’s calculated campaign of extrajudicial executions by mass hangings at Saydnaya Prison. Between 2011 and 2015, every week and often twice a week, groups of up to 50 people ... More>>

Russian Hack Job?: White House - Actions In Response To Russian Malicious Cyber Activity & Harassment

President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. More>>

Israel/Palestine: Michael Field - Background To How Israel Nearly Went To War With New Zealand

New Zealand and Senegal managed to get the United Nations Security Council to pass resolution 2334 which said Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory violate international law and undermine a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine. More>>

ALSO:

US Indigenous Affairs: How President Obama Has Protected Our Sacred Land

I am very proud to be both Navajo and American. As the President of the Navajo Nation, I’ve dedicated my life to ensuring that, as a Navajo, my story -- and our stories -- are part of our collective American history. Today, I want to share one of those stories with you. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news