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LONDON: The Brazilian government has been accused by a number of human rights groups of not doing enough to investigate the murders of indigenous activist Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips.
Article 19, Reporters Without Borders and the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism said Brazilian authorities had not “employed sufficient resources to fully understand all elements of the case and the responsibility of all those involved”. .
The pair were first reported missing in early June after they were last seen alive in the densely forested region of the western Brazilian Amazon near the Peruvian border.
Their bodies were found days later by the Itaquai River, reportedly shot by men who had ambushed their boat.
Philips and Pereira had done research for a book.
Three local fishermen were then arrested and formally charged on July 22.
However, local aboriginals say organized crime groups are behind the killings and that the fishermen “did not act alone”.
The Amazon rainforest, and in particular the Javari Valley region, is known for illegal fishing, ranching, prospecting and logging, and is populated by drug gangs.
“Today, the Amazon is a land of lawlessness dominated by those who want to destroy the forest. The state must take steps to protect the forest, which would help ensure the safety of those who defend the forest and those who do journalism there,” Daniel Camargos, investigative journalist at Reporter Brasil, said in a statement. communicated. “Covering lawless land is risky.”
In a letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the groups accused President Jair Bolsonaro’s government of having “failed to prevent tragedies like those that happened to Dom and Bruno from happening.” produce to other people active in the (region) .
In a statement, a lawyer representing the Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley said: “In the Javari Valley, we are all Bruno and we are all Dom – we need protection because every day the threats against us increase.
“The murder of our friends was not an isolated incident. We know that many interests in the region had something to gain from their deaths – and from the deaths of all environmental and Indigenous rights defenders, including ourselves,” he added.
Human rights organizations have all pointed out that the promises of the Brazilian government “have not translated into concrete actions”.
Additionally, they criticized the government for “failing to credit Indigenous groups who assisted in search and survey efforts.”