Published On: Tue, Jul 23rd, 2019

Amazon tribe under threat as Brazil targets historic land | World | News


Rare footage captured by the neighbouring Guajajara tribe shows members of the Awa tribe, who live in the dense rainforest. Loggers have cleared more than 30 percent of one of the protected Awa reserves, according to Survival International, putting the group’s habitat under increasing strain. The group, which rarely interacts with the outside world, is now being used by the Guajajara tribe to rally against Brazil President Jair Bolsanaro’s anti-environment policies.

Spokesperson Erisvan Guajajara said: “We didn’t have the Awa’s permission to film, but we know that it’s important to use these images.

“If we don’t show them around the world, the Awa will be killed by loggers.

“We’re using these images as a cry for help and we’re calling for the government to protect the lives of our relatives who don’t want contact with outsiders.”

The video shows a member of the Awa tribe sniffing a machete before running off into the thick forest with other tribesmen.

The campaign is part of Survival International’s attempt to promote basic rights for tribal groups around the world.

Director Stephen Corry said: “This video is further proof that the uncontacted Awa people really exist.

“And a glance at a satellite photo shows just how much danger they’re in.

“Loggers have already killed many of their relatives and forced others out of the forest.

“President Bolsonaro and his friends in the logging industry would like nothing more than for those who still survive to be eliminated.

“Only a global outcry stands between them and genocide.”

Deforestation and logger activity has significantly increased under the tenure of right-wing President Jair Bolsanaro, who was elected in January.

Mr Bolsanaro has called for indigenous reserves to be opened up for development, while the Environment Ministry has set up a body with the power to pardon deforesters.

The President said in 2017: “If I become President there will not be a centimetre more of indigenous land.”

A year earlier, he said in Congress: “In 2019 we’re going to rip up Raposa Serra do Sol [Indigenous Territory in northern Brazil]. We’re going to give all the ranchers guns.”

More than 1250 square kilometres of the Amazon has been deforested this month – a figure almost double the previous high recorded in 2016.

Mr Bolsanaro last week said that Brazil suffered from an “environmental psychosis”.

He added: “I am convinced that the data is a lie.”

Brazil is home to nearly one million indigenous peoples.



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