New films on Guarani plight mark UN Human Rights Day 10 December 2010

Survival has released two films highlighting the plight of the Guarani Indians
Survival has released two films highlighting the plight of the Guarani Indians
© Fiona Watson/Survival

Survival has today released two short films highlighting the plight of the Guarani Indians in Brazil, to mark UN Human Rights Day (December 10th).

The film ‘One must have courage’ reveals the Guarani’s determination that their lands, which have been stolen from them to make way for ranches, soya and sugarcane plantations, must be returned to them.

‘One must have courage’Despite living through years of injustice, racism and violence, the Guarani people are resilient and committed to seeing the demarcation of their land. Carlito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.

In the film ‘The Gunmen’, Guarani express their anger and apprehension as the ranchers who have taken over their lands employ gunmen to shoot at them.

One Guarani woman states, ‘Imagine the gunmen’s bullets flying around all the time… at night time they could hit a child, a woman, or anyone’.

The GunmenA Guarani community describe the threat posed by gunmen, hired by the ranchers who stole their land.

Many Guarani, including internationally respected leader Marcos Veron, have been assassinated following their return to their ancestral land.

Scores of Guarani now live in appalling conditions in makeshift camps by the side of main roads, or in overcrowded reserves. Last month, Deborah Duprat, Deputy Attorney General of Brazil, described one of these, the Dourados reserve, as ‘possibly the biggest tragedy concerning indigenous peoples in the whole world’.

This week, Alternative Nobel Prize winner, Bishop Erwin Kräutler, described the Guarani situation as a ‘cruel genocide in progress’ which the government is ‘ignoring… before their eyes’.

Guarani spokesman Anastácio Peralta is currently in Europe, denouncing this critical situation. He said, ‘They have stolen our lands, they have destroyed nature, they have polluted our rivers, they stained our ground with the blood of my people. But they didn’t manage to destroy our language, our prayer, our culture, our history and our resistance’.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘On this Human Rights Day, there are Guarani living without access to clean water in tarpaulin huts on the sides of highways, and others trapped with little food, amidst miles and miles of sugarcane fields. The Brazilian authorities must secure the Guarani’s future by granting them the fundamental right to live on their ancestral land’.

Earlier this year, Survival International sent a report to the UN, emphasizing the violence, suicide, malnutrition and other threats the Guarani face.

 

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