Ten Brazilian indigenous leaders protest in London
- President Bolsonaro wins Survival International’s Racist of the Year award
Ten indigenous leaders from across Brazil have taken part in a major protest outside the Brazilian Embassy in London to demand an end to the destruction of their lands and people.
Photos available to download at the bottom of this page
At the demo the leaders handed in to the embassy the Racist of the Year award, which this year has been won by President Bolsonaro for his openly racist abuse of indigenous people and genocidal attacks on their rights.
Indigenous Blood: Not a Single Drop More advocacy tour
The indigenous leaders are in London as part of the Indigenous Blood: Not a Single Drop More advocacy tour organized by APIB, the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil. They are calling on people in Europe to boycott Brazilian agribusiness until their rights are respected.
Their visit comes after an intensification of attacks on indigenous peoples in recent weeks. The indigenous Amazon Guardian Paulo Paulino Guajajara was assassinated in an ambush by at least five armed loggers in the Araribóia Indigenous Territory in the eastern Amazon last Friday, November 1. At dawn on October 31, FUNAI’s monitoring post for uncontacted tribes in the Javari Valley, in the western Amazon, was attacked by armed men.
Sonia Guajajara, the Executive Coordinator of APIB, said: “President Bolsonaro wants to destroy the indigenous peoples of Brazil. His racism and hate encourage miners and loggers to invade our territories and kill our people. Well, I’ve got news for him – we love our lands much more than he hates us, and we will never allow him to destroy us, or the forests we have protected for so long.”
Nara Baré, coordinator of COIAB (Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples of the Brazilian Amazon) said: "What happened to our relative, Paulino Guajajara, is a clear example of what we have been through. We are reaffirming that it is our blood being shed for the soybeans and wood that come to Europe. We are here to say that every import that comes to Europe is marked with our blood. It’s time to say enough! Measures need to be taken, and the responsibility lies with everyone: parliaments, civil society, consumers and businesspeople themselves.”
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said: “Since coming to power, President Bolsonaro has mounted a ruthless assault on the rights of Brazil’s first peoples, and is hell bent on opening up their lands to big business. His openly racist comments and refusal to accept indigenous peoples’ rights to their own lands are fuelling violence against indigenous people across Brazil. If he gets his way, the country’s first peoples will be wiped out. But they’re fighting back with energy, bravery and determination, and so are their allies. And we’re not going to back down.”
Racist of the Year
Among the many racist statements made by Mr Bolsonaro are: “It’s a shame that the Brazilian cavalry hasn’t been as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated the Indians.”
Since coming to power President Bolsonaro has tried to cripple FUNAI, Brazil’s Indigenous Affairs Department. His racist rhetoric has led to a skyrocketing number of invasions of indigenous territories, and he is trying to make it easier for agribusiness and extractive industries to exploit resources in indigenous territories.
Contact for interviews
For media interviews with the indigenous leaders, contact Pam Cowburn, 07749 785 932. Biographies are available here. Translators can be provided.
Notes to Editors
1 – Survival International is the global movement for tribal peoples. It is the only organization that champions tribal peoples around the world. Survival helps them defend their lives, protect their lands and determine their own futures;
2 – Past winners of Survival’s Racist of the Year Award include former President Khama of Botswana, and a Brazilian deputy who said the country’s tribespeople should be left to starve;
3 – On Friday 15 November at 9am, the APIB delegation will be handing in a letter and petition at 10 Downing Street. For more information: Alison Kirkman, Greenpeace. [email protected]/ 020 7865 8255.
Kreta Kaingang hands in Survival’s Racist of the Year Award for President Bolsonaro to the Brazilian Embassy, London
© Rosa Gauditano/ Survival International
Kreta Kaingang outside the Brazilian Embassy, London
© Rosa Gauditano/ Survival International