Brazil: increase in violence against indigenous people

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Acts of violence against indigenous peoples in Brazil increased by 150% last year compared to 2018, according to a report released Wednesday by a Catholic body highly critical of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

This report by the Indian Missionary Council (Cimi) identified 276 violent acts affecting indigenous people in 2019 against 110 in 2018, including attempted rape or murder.

“The 2019 data shows that the rights of indigenous peoples and their territories are clearly being usurped,” Cimi said in a statement.

The number of killings of indigenous people, however, fell slightly, from 135 in 2018 to 113 last year.

But the exacerbation of rural conflicts has led to a proliferation of other harms targeting indigenous populations.

The intrusions on their land, the illegal exploitation of the wealth therein and the degradation of their properties have almost tripled year on year, from 109 in 2018 to 256 in 2019.

“Until when are the natives going to be killed to exploit their land?” », Asked Archbishop Roque Paloschi, president of Cimi, during a videoconference to present the report.

“Today, the main aggressor of indigenous peoples and nature is the Brazilian government,” he said.

According to the report, a feeling of impunity is more and more noticeable among gold washers, wood traffickers or farmers wishing to seize indigenous lands, since the coming to power of Jair Bolsonaro in January 2019.

The far-right leader announced as soon as he was elected that he intended to open up to mining or farming these territories supposed to be reserved for natives.

“In certain situations, those who invade these lands quote the name of the President of the Republic, confirming that their criminal acts are stimulated by that which the constitution obliges to protect the indigenous territories, which are part of the heritage of the country”, denounces the report .

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