Brazil Yanomami Land Turns 30 With Little To Celebrate

Brazil Yanomami land turns 30 with little to celebrate

Rio de Janeiro, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 25th May, 2022 ) :Brazil's biggest indigenous reservation turns 30 years old Wednesday, but inhabitants of the Yanomami territory say the killing, rape and poisoning of their people by illegal gold miners means there is little to celebrate.

Located in the Amazon along the Brazil-Venezuela border, the Yanomami Indigenous Territory -- a swathe of jungle bigger than Portugal -- was established on May 25, 1992, after a decades-long battle.

But what could have been a commemoration of a landmark in the movement to protect the rainforest and its inhabitants is instead serving as a snapshot of the nightmare playing out there -- with the complicity, activists say, of President Jair Bolsonaro.

According to indigenous leaders, more than 20,000 illegal gold miners have invaded Yanomami territory, killing indigenous inhabitants, sexually abusing women and girls, and contaminating rivers with the mercury used to separate gold from sediment.

The miners, known as "garimpeiros," are also spreading malaria, tuberculosis and Covid-19 on the reservation, home to an estimated 29,000 people, counting the Yanomami, the Ye'kwana and several isolated groups.

The result is devastating for populations with limited immunity to outside diseases.

"Thirty years ought to be cause for indigenous peoples to come together and celebrate," said Sonia Guajajara, head of the Association of Brazil's Indigenous Peoples (APIB).

"Instead, we have this violence and destruction, with the collusion of the state," she told AFP.