Tribal rights campaigners today targeted a London exhibition celebrating Brazil’s cultural heritage ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics, to highlight the plight of ‘Earth’s most threatened tribe.’
Visitors attending ‘Casa Brasil’ at London’s iconic Somerset House are being handed leaflets by Survival International explaining the devastating effects illegal logging is having on Brazil’s Awá tribe.
The urgency of the situation was compounded earlier this week by news of a government investigation, which discovered illegal loggers working less than six kilometres away from an Awá community.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry explained, ‘Casa Brasil is a celebration of the country’s artistic talent and diverse culture – a culture that is enriched by its many indigenous and tribal peoples. Brazil has the might and influence to host the Olympic games, but can it save the most vulnerable of its tribes from destruction?’
Survival launched its campaign to ‘Save Earth’s most threatened tribe’ over 100 days ago, with the help of Oscar-winning film star Colin Firth.
Since then, more than 32,000 people have written to Brazil’s Justice Minister urging him to do more to protect the Awá’s land, which suffers the fastest rate of deforestation of any indigenous territory in the Amazon.
The Awá say the situation is urgent: ‘We don’t want to see the illegal loggers destroying our forest. Send them away; we want our land to be completely ours, for our own use. Help us as fast as you can.’
Speaking to Survival, one visitor said, ‘I’m here to learn more about Brazil. I’d never heard of the Awá, but now I’m aware of the problems they face, I’d like to help.’
The tribe’s plight has already reached the UK Parliament, with 35 MPs urging Brazil to end the invasions of Awá land, in the northeastern state of Maranhão.