In West Papua, Indonesia, we investigate allegations of fraud and human rights abuses in billion-dollar land deals.
Paiakan, leader of the Kayapo people, was best-known as the guardian of the Amazon, after heading several fights to protect the rainforest against the exploitation of its natural resources.
The organization has been accompanying significant legal victories against extractivist companies and for the survival of original nations in Ecuador, including the triumph last year of the Waorani in a historical trial against oil firms.
“Amazon means life for our world. For us, as Indigenous peoples, it is our home,” the organization said.
On another occasion, he also said that Brazil should have followed Colonel George Armstrong Custer’s example in dealing “efficiently” with Indigenous peoples in the United States.
Racism is considered a serious crime in Brazil and can carry a sentence of up to five years.
The meeting in the village of Piaraçu on the Xingu river was called by Raoni Metuktire, the 90-year-old Kayapó chief who became an environmental campaigner in the 1980s with British rock singer Sting at his side.
A four-day-long tribal meeting among the Brazilian Indigenous leaders has begun in the Amazon to protest far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s push to open their reservations for commercial mining and agriculture.
However, many indigenous leaders have been vocal in their opposition to the government’s plans. Prominent tribal chiefs, including Raoni Metuktire, have toured Europe to defend their territories from deforestation and development.
The sacking of Galvao, a respected physicist and member of the Brazilian Academy of Science, sent shockwaves through the country’s scientific community.
„In practice, every time Bolsonaro fosters economic exploitation of indigenous lands through his speeches, he grants a free pass to economic and political interests wishing to exploit them,“ Tauli-Corpuz said. „Bolsonaro is directly responsible because the government has the responsibility of protecting its citizens‘ lives. And Brazil has signed all international human rights conventions.“
This comes as Moreno’s administration is planning to sell off seven million acres of rainforest territory, some of the most biodiverse on the planet, to the international oil industry. As non-governmental organization Amazon Frontlines, explains, if exploited, 70 percent of the oil would be shipped up to refineries in California, and eventually pumped at gas stations across the United States.
Right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro issued a new decree on Wednesday putting decisions on indigenous land claims in the hands of the Ministry of Agriculture, four weeks after Congress rebuffed him on the move that is sought by Brazil’s farm lobby.
The right-wing president alarmed anthropologists and environmentalists by planning to assimilate Brazil’s 800,000 indigenous people and open reservation lands to commercial development, even in the Amazon rainforest.
Suely Araujo, the head of Brazil’s environmental protection agency the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) resigned Monday after far-right President Jair Bolsonaro criticized the amount of money it spends to rent vehicles, his latest attack on the agency.
Brazil’s president-elect, a former army captain, also raised the prospect of building hydro-electric power stations in the Amazon and a rail line through the heart of the rainforest that would greatly restrict water access and forcibly remove Indigenous communities.
It is not yet clear who killed him, but a powerful logging mafia has repeatedly targeted the tribe for its work protecting both its rainforest home, and the uncontacted members of a neighboring tribe, the Awá, who also live there, and face catastrophe unless their land is protected.