No man's land and lawlessness, this will be the fate of the Amazonian rainforest?

Clara Akemi
The recent death of the Brazilian indigenous expert, Bruno Pereira, and the British journalist Dom Phillips in the Amazon Forest has been all over the international media, arousing public outrage worldwide. Everyone is demanding added security from the Brazilian government for all those working and defending the forest, such as employees of the Department of Indigenous Affairs (FUNAI), environmental activists, journalists, indigenous people and riparian dwellers. And beyond that, Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been harshly criticised for having authorised Amazon deforestation.

In Javari Valley, where Pereira and Phillips went missing and were found slain, there is the second-largest concentration of isolated indigenous communities in our country. It is on the border of Brazil, Peru and Colombia and is known to be one of the most dangerous regions because of poachers, illegal logging and gold panning, besides being the international route of drug and arms trafficking.

Unfortunately, many individuals, including indigenous people, have already lost their lives protecting the Amazon rainforest. One of the most well-known cases was the assassination of the environmental activist Chico Mendes, in 1988. Besides fighting for an agrarian reform that would generate income without the forest devastation, he denounced the advance of deforestation and land conflicts. He got the Global Environmental Preservation Prize from the United Nations for his work.

Another crime that had international repercussions was the murder of missionary Dorothy Stang, in 2005. As a leader in the struggle for agrarian reform and creation of projects to protect the forest, she provoked fury in many illegal loggers, cattlemen and land grabbers in Pará, north of Brazil, where they bumped her off in an ambush with six shots.

Dom Phillips, Bruno Pereira, Dorothy Stang, Chico Mendes, and many others. In common, they all had a passion and took care of the Amazon Forest and its inhabitants. They stood up for human rights and died fighting against criminals who had been plundering the Amazonian resources. They certainly sowed the seeds, and we will reap the benefits. So, I am grateful to all of them for their commitment to this cause. I hope may God rest their soul in peace.
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