GENEVA (22 June 2016): The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, today strongly condemned recent attacks on the Guarani Kaiowá indigenous community in Brazil.
The expert urged the federal and state authorities to take urgent action to prevent further killings and to investigate and hold the perpetrators accountable.
On June 14, public health worker Clodiodi Aquileu Rodrigues de Souza was shot dead and another six indigenous persons were wounded by gunfire, including a twelve year old child.
The attack took place in the municipality of Caarapó, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, on ancestral land which has recently been claimed by the Guarani Kaiowá.
A death foretold
Paramilitaries acting on instructions of wealthy land owners (fazendeiros) allegedly carried out the attack as a reprisal against the indigenous community for seeking recognition of their land rights.
“This was a death foretold,” stressed Ms. Tauli-Corpuz, who visited Guarani Kaiowá indigenous communities in Mato Grosso do Sul in March 2016*, and raised alert about the high incidence of killings.
“This state ranks the most deadly in Brazil, with the highest and rising number of indigenous peoples killed.”
“I deplore that despite my prior alerts, state and federal authorities have failed to take prompt measures to prevent violence against indigenous peoples,” she stated.
“This failure is aggravated by the recurring high incidence of violence and the fears expressed by the community of being victims of further attacks.”
Call on demarcation procedures
“I call on demarcation procedures to be expedited as a matter of priority in order to clarify indigenous land ownership and prevent further escalation of violence,” she said.
“The pursuit of economic interests in a way that further subordinates the rights of indigenous peoples creates a potential risk of ethnocidal effects that cannot be overlooked nor underestimated.”
The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report on her official visit to Brazil (7-17 March 2016) to the Brazilian Government and the UN Human Rights Council in September 2016.
(*) Read the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations at the end of her visit to Brazil (7-17 March 2016): http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=18498&LangID=E