The Brazilian Amazon is bleeding again


A suspect confesses to the murders of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian native Bruno Pereira

Brazilian police take away bags with human remains.AP
  • reporter’s gaze Disappeared in the most dangerous corner of the Amazon

As British journalist Dom Phillips (57) and Brazilian indigenous Bruno Pereira (41) disappeared in the Javari Valley on June 5, their fates seemed to be already written. Among the reasons for this omen, the dangerousness of that region of the Brazilian Amazon and the history of similar cases of murders of activists and defenders of the local people.

After several days of searching, one of the suspects, Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, confessed to his crime and indicated the place where both bodies were buried. Eduardo Alexandre Fontes, the chief of the federal police in the state of Amazonas, revealed at a press conference that everything indicates the bodies are those of Phillips and Pereira, but We will be sure only after “tests of identity”, The other arrested, Oceni da Costa de Oliveira, is Amarildo’s brother and has denied his involvement in the murder. The other description that Fontes has provided is that the death may have been caused by a “gun” and there may have been more involved.

While the investigation is ongoing, messages from the families and international reactions were immediate. In public statements, the British journalist’s brothers said they were “heartbroken”. Guardian, the newspaper with which Philips collaborated. His wife, Alessandra Sampao, said in a statement: “Today begins our journey in search of justice.” While Pereira’s wife Beatriz Matos tweeted: “Now that Bruno’s spirits roam the woods and spread among us, our strength is greater.”

Phillips entered the Javari Valley with Pereira to produce a book on sustainable development in the Amazon, as the British media recall. With so much bad luck that his ship never reached Atalia do Norte on time.

As Survival International highlighted in a statement following the disappearance, there are more non-contact tribes in the Jawari Valley than anywhere else in the world, and the region is suffering. Heavy pressure “due to a huge increase in illegal logging, mining and drug trafficking activities”, Pereira himself, who worked for Funai, a government agency focused on indigenous issues, had previously received death threats. The organization also recalled the case of Maxsil Pereira dos Santos, who was also linked to Funai and was murdered in 2019.

The news of the killing sparked outrage in Brazil, and many NGOs point to President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been in favor of exploiting the forest. Furthermore, his words regarding the matter have not been very successful. He called Phillips’ campaign an “adventure not recommended”, which he said was “badly viewed” at Amazon.

,Brazil is one of the deadliest countries To human rights defenders and environmentalists around the world,” said Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil.

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