Amazon Watch Condemns Murderous Invasion of Brazilian Indigenous Territory and Calls for Swift Action to Bring Invaders to Justice

Amazon Watch

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On Saturday July 26, dozens of heavily armed wildcat gold miners invaded the remote Amazonian territory of the Waiãpi Indigenous people in the Brazilian state of Amapá, driving out residents by threatening violence. This invasion followed the miners’ murder of Chief Emyra Waiãpi on Wednesday July 24, who was stabbed to death before his body was thrown in a river. 

The Waiãpi have called on local and national authorities to intervene before this tense situation worsens, with fear of an impending bloodbath. Federal Police and special forces have been dispatched to the region. Meanwhile, President Bolsonaro called events into question, telling Folha de São Paulo “there is no strong indication that this indian was assassinated there” while promising to “reveal the truth about this case.” 

Mr. Bolsonaro’s administration has frozen Indigenous land titling processes and is moving aggressively to open Indigenous territories to mining and industrial agriculture. His seven month tenure has overseen record-breaking Amazon deforestation and unprecedented invasions of Indigenous territories.

Christian Poirier, Amazon Watch Program Director said:

“President Bolsonaro has blood on his hands. His regime’s reckless policies and its wanton neglect of threatened forest communities is directly linked to rising violent criminality that spurred the murder of Emyra Waiãpi. 

This brutal case must be understood as part of Bolsonaro’s growing assault on the Amazon and its peoples. His repeated calls to legalize highly destructive wildcat mining on Indigenous territories have empowered local mafias to invade protected areas with impunity, and with deadly consequences.

Amazon Watch and our allies in Brazil and around the world call on the Bolsonaro administration to respect the Indigenous rights to territory and self determination as defined by the Brazilian constitution. In light of these events, we call for a swift and conclusive investigation that brings Emyra Waiãpi’s murderers to justice, and that drives illegal miners from Waiãpi lands. ”

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