World, Americas

Brazil: Indigenous activist killed in Amazon

Amazonian countries sign forest pact to protect rain forrest from fires and pillage

Beyza Binnur DOnmez  | 09.09.2019 - Update : 10.09.2019
Brazil: Indigenous activist killed in Amazon


An Indigenous activist was killed in front of his family in western Brazilian city of Tabatinga, located in the Amazon region, according to a Sunday report by Indigenous Associates (INA). 

Since last year, four attacks targeted Indigenous land surveillance teams, which protect "important part of the Amazon biodiversity and blocks illegal exploitation of hunting, fishing, wood and gold," INA said in a statement.

The union represents workers at Brazil’s National Indian Foundation agency FUNAI.

Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo reported that Maxciel Pereira dos Santos was shot twice in the head in front of his wife and stepdaughter on Friday while riding a motorbike on a main street of Tabatinga.

Santos worked for over 12 years at FUNAI to defend the rights of indigenous people, and was head of the Environmental Management and Territorial Service of the Regional Coordination of the Javari Valley, one of the largest indigenous regions of Brazil, for five years.

Police is investigating whether the attack was related to his work at FUNAI, according to the daily.

Meanwhile, Amazonian countries signed a pact Friday in Colombia to protect the world’s largest rainforest by creating a natural disaster network and satellite monitoring, amid ongoing fires which burned a large-scale of the forest and damaged biodiversity.

The countries decided to gather in Leticia, Colombia to discuss the current situation created by fires in the Amazon after increasing global pressure on the subject.

"We understand the urgency to protect this region, we understand that there are threats in the region, and that they are basically all the same in the countries meeting here today," Colombian President Ivan Duque said.

Among those who attended the summit were Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra, and Bolivian President Evo Morales, as well as the Suriname Vice President Michael Adhin, Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo and Guyana Natural Resource Minister Raphael Trotman. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro joined via video conference due to a personal health issue.

Venezuela was not invited to the meeting where countries have signed the ''Leticia Amazon pact''.

The pact, although welcomed by some environmental groups, was criticized by others who found it ''vague''.

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