The Brazilian Indigenous People Articulation (Apib) issued a petition in the Federal Supreme Court (STF) on Wednesday, May 19, asking the court to determine that the federal administration adopts immediate measures to protect the communities in the Yanomami lands.
The organization explained that the action seeks to avoid new massacres against indigenous lives. The request asks for the immediate removal of invaders from seven Indigenous Lands, especially the Yanomami lands in Roraima and the Munduruku territory in Pará so that these populations’ rights to life and physical integrity are guaranteed.
In a press conference, Apib's direction, the federal congresswoman Joênia Wapichana (REDE-Roraima), and Yanomami and Munduruku leaders talked about the actions needed to protect the indigenous populations and denounced the escalation of violence in the Indigenous Lands.
The document sent to the Supreme Court also affirms that the escalation of violence, environmental degradation, and outbreaks of diseases due to the exploration of mines in indigenous lands have been causing a series of violations of the indigenous peoples' fundamental rights.
For instance, in the Yanomami territory, gunshot attacks and intimidation have become part of the daily routine. “It is a devastating scenario with organized crime, children’s deaths, malaria and covid-19 outbreaks, river contamination, food insecurity, and lack of medical care. If that wasn’t bad enough, violence is more and more intense, and we fear a new massacre is imminent”, alerts Apib’s Executive-Director, Sonia Guajajara.
The Hutukara Yanomami Association (HAY) has been asking for the protection of the state since the beginning of May, when the miners’ offensive against the Yanomami community Palimiú started.
The situation has been reported in four official letters sent to the Front of Yanomami Ethno-environmental Protection of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), the superintendency of the Federal Police in Roraima (PF/RR), the Army’s 1st Jungle Infantry Brigade (1ª BIS), and the Office of the Federal Public Prosecutor’s in Roraima (MPF/RR). Nothing has changed so far.
The pronouncement about wildcat mining in indigenous lands included data on violence, diseases like malaria and covid-19, contamination by mercury, and deforestation.
“There are invaders in many other indigenous lands, it is a lived reality to many populations. In seven lands, in particular, the problems and conflicts started way before the pandemic. We have been warning the Supreme Court and the authorities of the Brazilian State that the pandemic could aggravate the already chaotic realities lived by the populations. These territories are the Indigenous Lands of Araribóia, Karipuna, Kayapó, Munduruku, Trincheira Bacajá, Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau, and Yanomami”, the leaders detailed.
Apib also pointed out that the Union has repeatedly refused to act according to the Supreme Court’s rulings: “From July 1st, 2020, when the actions were proposed, to March 2021, deforestation and the invasions of Indigenous Lands skyrocketed. During this period, the Union did not present a plan or indicated what concrete measures the State would carry out to contain the invaders. The Union only describes the functions of the entities that may be involved and suggests satellite surveillance that could have been delivered in the first week of the ADPF [Claim of Non-Compliance with a Fundamental Precept 709, which determined measures to contain the pandemic in indigenous communities]”.
The entity also highlighted that “the mobilization of the state, the security forces, and social security mechanisms for the lands named in the proposal is urgent. The delicate situation of attacks and aggressions brings along food insecurity, exposure to diseases that have been aggravated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and lack of medical assistance”.
“We really hope that the Supreme Court will ensure the protection of the Yanomami and other indigenous populations that are currently under attack”, Sonia Guajajara concludes.
Edited by: Vinícius Segalla