AMERICA/BRAZIL - Violence against the indigenous people of Brazil is increasing: new complaint by IMIC

Friday, 1 July 2011

Brasilia (Fides Service) - Murder, death threats, lack of health care and education, delays in the regularization of land, exploitation of natural resources: this is the picture of the violence the indigenous people of Brazil are subjected to, according to the Report of the Indigenous Missionary Council (IMIC), which was presented yesterday at the headquarters of the Episcopal Conference of Brazil (CNBB). Each year the IMIC collects information on violence against indigenous people and the violations of human rights, threats to indigenous communities and against the isolated population. The editors of the Report note that unfortunately the situation of violence against these populations continues as or even worse than in the past when thousands of natives were decimated.
According to information received by Fides, during the presentation of the 2010 Report the anthropologist Lucia Rangel, who coordinated the work, pointed out some significant facts related to last year: 60 Indians were killed (it is the same figure that is repeated for the third consecutive year), 152 others were threatened with death, 15 were subjected to discrimination, racism and ethno-cultural acts, 27 were victims of attempted murder. 33 cases of invasions and illegal exploitation of natural resources on indigenous lands and damage to property were recorded, in addition to 49 cases of delays or omissions in the regularization of land. Also in 2010, 92 children under 5 years of age died due to lack of health care, whereas in 2009 they were 15.
According to the Coordinator of the 2010 Report "violence against indigenous people exists, but not much importance is given. It is clear that violence is a fact, and our goal is to denounce and inform the authorities".
The Secretary General of IMIC, His Exc. Mgr. Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, Bishop of the Prelature of São Félix, in Mato Grosso, who attended the presentation of the Report, highlighted the importance of the Church’s commitment for indigenous people "Our indigenous brothers and sisters deserve our respect and our admiration. They are the original people of this land, we are 'invaders', not them. I come from Mato Grosso, and it is inadmissible that the natives are discarded or excluded from our society as it is today, for this reason we will fight and we will always support IMIC and the indigenous cause in this country". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 07/01/2011)