Violence against Brazil's indigenous population

Impunity fuels conflicts (Press Release)

According to the annual report of the Comissão Pastoral da Terra, which the church organization published on Monday, the indigenous communities of Brazil are suffering from increasing violent attacks. Among other things, the report "Conflicts in the Field Brazil 2020" focuses on the increasing number of violent attacks in connection with land rights and access to water, as well as on violence against indigenous people and against women. "According to the figures, there has been a significant increase in acts of violence against members of indigenous communities," explained Juliana Miyazaki, expert on indigenous peoples at the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP). "Bolsonaro's government is refusing to investigate crimes against indigenous people – and there are people who see this as an invitation to ruthlessly exploit indigenous territories. These invaders are responsible for ongoing conflicts and violence."

The number of recorded attacks in 2020 – from physical assaults to murders – shows an increase by 102.85 percent in comparison to the year before. According to the report, 39 percent of all recorded murders and 34 percent of all attempted murders were targeted at members of indigenous communities. Four people were killed in conflicts concerning access to water – the highest number of cases like this so far. One of the victims was an indigenous person. The total number of recorded cases is 1.576, which is the highest figure since 1985. Indigenous families and communities were especially affected. According to Miyazaki, most of the conflicts that affect the indigenous population were recorded in the Amazon region, often in demarcated territories. "This shows that it is necessary to install additional mechanisms to stop the escalation violence."  

The current escalation is particularly evident in the Yanomami and Munduruku territories. "The people have been threatened by gold diggers for days. There has already been shooting, and houses were set on fire," Miyazaki stated. "The indigenous communities feel left alone by the state, and the police rarely show up to help – so the gold diggers are not deterred." On Monday, a court ruled that the Munduruku and other communities in the area should be granted police protection. The week before, on May 24, the Supreme Court had decided – following a request by the indigenous organization APIB – that the Brazilian government must do anything in its power to keep the indigenous Yanomami und Munduruku safe.