The Brazilian government has adopted policies that seriously threaten the rights of Indigenous peoples, Human Rights Watch said today, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The administration of President Jair Bolsonaro has undermined the government agency tasked with protecting those rights, issued regulations that are harmful to Indigenous people, and halted the recognition of their traditional lands.
Across Brazil, illegal logging, mining, poaching, and land grabbing in Indigenous lands increased by 137 percent in 2020, compared with 2018, the year before President Bolsonaro took office, according to the latest data by the Indigenist Missionary Council, a nonprofit organization. The total area deforested in Indigenous territories in the Amazon during President Bolsonaro’s first three years in office was 138 percent higher than in the previous three years (2016-2018), according to the non-profit Socio-Environmental Institute (ISA).
Along with environmental destruction came violence. Indigenous people in the Javari Valley, which has the largest concentration of Indigenous people living in voluntary isolation in the world, had collaborated with FUNAI in protecting the forest until 2019, Beto Marubo, one of the leaders of UNIVAJA, a local association of Indigenous peoples, told Human Rights Watch. Due to FUNAI’s weakening, they have felt they had to start patrolling the forest on their own, he said.
Source: Human Rights Watch