Indigenous protectors are defending the Amazon and ‘paying with their lives’

Human rights groups warned in an open letter that the Amazon’s last uncontacted indigenous people face “genocide,” amid raging fires and mounting incursions into their territories.

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SOURCEDemocracy Now!

This week we’re on the road in Stockholm, Sweden, where we’re covering the 40th Anniversary of the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.” One of this year’s recipients of the award is Yanomami indigenous leader Davi Kopenawa and the organization he co-founded, Hutukara Yanomami Association. The Right Livelihood Foundation has praised them for “their courageous determination to protect the forests and biodiversity of the Amazon, and the lands and culture of its indigenous peoples.” The award comes as indigenous forest protectors and uncontacted tribes in Brazil are increasingly under attack. Last month an indigenous forest protector named Paulo Paulino Guajajara was shot dead in the Amazon by illegal loggers. It was the latest incident in a wave of violence targeting indigenous land protectors since the election of Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro last year. One month ago, human rights groups warned in an open letter that the Amazon’s last uncontacted indigenous people face “genocide,” amid raging fires and mounting incursions into their territories. Brazil’s Indigenous Missionary Council says the number of invasions of indigenous territories has doubled under Bolsonaro—with more than 150 such incidents since January. We speak with Fiona Watson, advocacy and research director for Survival International. The organization is a 1989 winner of the Right Livelihood Award for its work protecting the Amazon.

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