Indigenous rights campaign breaks records for online activism

By staff writers
29 Apr 2012

A campaign to save one of the world’s most threatened tribes has generated more than 10,000 protest emails to the Brazilian government in just three days. Survival International, who are behind the campaign, say it is a record for protest actions for tribal peoples anywhere in the world.

The campaign aims to save the Awá tribe, whose lands are being illegally threatened and destroyed. Survival International described them as the “most threatened tribe” in the world.

In an online video appeal, the actor Colin Firth asks viewers to send a protest message to Brazil's Justice Minister, who has the power to send in federal police to evict the loggers, ranchers and settlers who are ravaging the tribe’s land.

In his appeal Colin Firth says, “The Awá’s forest is being illegally cut for timber. When the loggers see them, they kill them. Their bows and arrows are no match for guns.”

He adds, “And at any other time in history, that's where it would end. Another people wiped off the face of the earth, forever. But we're going to make sure the world doesn't let that happen.”

Brazil’s Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo, has yet to respond to the barrage of messages. He told a Brazilian journalist, ‘Unfortunately we have a lot of violence in relation to indigenous peoples, and the scale is such that it is impossible for any government to prevent situations as they unfold.’

In response, Survival International’s Director, Stephen Corry, asked if Brazil had “the strength to uphold its own laws”.

Corry said, “If Brazil allows more of its original people to be sacrificed for some truckloads of timber it will be an enduring stain on the history of a great nation, an irredeemable tragedy for humanity, and of course a catastrophe for the Awá”.

[Ekk/1]

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