Brazil Indigenous EU protest over missing men

·2-min read

A group of Brazilian Indigenous leaders staged a protest Thursday outside EU buildings in Brussels over the disappearance -- and suspected murders -- of a British journalist and an activist in the Amazon.

Seven members of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), the country's biggest Indigenous representative body, decried the impunity and violence on Indigenous land in the Amazon that they said led to the men's disappearance two weeks ago.

The two, Dom Phillips, a longtime Brazilian resident and contributor to The Guardian newspaper, and Bruno Pereira, an Indigenous expert and activist for Indigenous rights, are believed to have been killed.

A suspect arrested in Brazil was said by Brazilian police to have confessed to burying the two in the jungle. Human remains have been found and are being forensically tested for identification.

One of the Indigenous leaders protesting in Brussels, Dinamam Tuxa, told AFP that the Brazilian government bore responsibility along with criminals in the fate that befell the two men.

"Bruno and Dom Phillips were victims of the government's policies, of criminal organisations that don't care that everybody hears denunciations," he said.

He added that hundreds of Indigenous people and environmental activists had been killed in the Amazon in recent decades for challenging illegal ranchers, loggers, miners and fishermen.

"The Brazilian government has no desire to fight these violations, especially environmental crimes. We have a feeling there's impunity," Tuxa said.

"We want justice for Dom, for Bruno, for Indigenous leaders, for environmentalists who have been murdered precisely for confronting" illicit activity in the Amazon.

Phillips' Brazilian wife Alessandra Sampaio says she accepts that her husband and Pereira are dead, and she has thanked all those who searched for them, especially Indigenous volunteers.

Phillips, 57, was working on a book on sustainable development in the Amazon when he went missing.

Pereira, 41, was a highly regarded advocate for the region's Indigenous peoples and was acting as his guide while on leave from his job with the Brazilian government's Indigenous affairs agency.

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