Udayavni Special

Amazon indigenous leaders accuse Brazil of ‘genocide’ policy


PTI, Jan 18, 2020, 11:46 AM IST

Piaracu: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s pledge to open up the Amazon to mining companies was tantamount to “genocide”, indigenous leaders said Friday at a meeting to oppose the government’s environmental policies.

Hundreds of elders gathered this week at Pairacu, deep in the rainforest, to form a united front against Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, which have seen deforestation in the jungle nearly double since the Brazilian leader came to power a year ago.

“Our aim was to join forces and denounce the fact that the Brazilian government’s political policy of genocide, ethnocide, and ecocide is underway,” the group said in a draft manifesto drawn up at the end of the summit.

“We do not accept mining on our lands, loggers, illegal fishermen or hydroelectricity. We are opposed to anything that destroys the forest,” the text said.

They also said that “government threats and hate speech” had encouraged violence against Amazon communities and demanded punishment for the murder of indigenous leaders.

At least eight indigenous leaders were killed last year. Brazil’s leading indigenous chief, Raoni Metuktire, said Thursday he would personally travel to the capital Brasilia to present the meeting’s demands to Congress.

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