Brazilians urge presidential candidates to stand up for indigenous rights

By staff writers
August 12, 2010

Brazilian Indians from across the country are gathering to highlight what they describe as the theft of their land for industrial projects, as well as the killing of their leaders and other threats to their survival.

Around 800 Indians representing many of Brazil’s 233 tribes are expected to attend the protest, from 16 - 20 August. They have invited all the candidates in Brazil’s forthcoming presidential election to the rally.

The rally is being held in Mato Grosso do Sul state, south of the Amazon, to draw attention to the critical situation faced by the indigenous peoples of that state, especially the Guarani Indians.

Survival International reports that the Guarani’s lands have been stolen to make way for cattle ranches and sugarcane plantations, and the Guarani have one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

The protest will also highlight growing anger amongst many tribes who oppose the government’s plans to build a series of huge dams and roads in the Amazon.

It is being organised by the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil and the Forum in Defence of Indigenous Rights.

Survival International’s Director Stephen Corry, said today (12 August), “The current government has woefully neglected Brazilian Indians, and now they're calling out to the presidential candidates to listen to their needs. They expect the new President to take action to safeguard their lands.”


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