Indigenous community held hostage in Brazil

September 17, 2010

Guarani-Kaiowá leaders

In October of 2009, the indigenous community Guarani Kaiowá Y’poí was violently evicted from its ancestral land near Paranhos, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.  During the assault, gunmen hired by local farmers abducted tribe members Genivaldo Vera and his cousin Rolindo Vera. Genivaldo’s body was found a few days later in a nearby river. His head had been shaved and his body had extensive bruising. Rolindo’s whereabouts remains unknown. After almost a year, Rolindo’s family continues to wait for the Federal Police to tell them what happened to him or to bring them Rolindo’s body back.

In April of 2010, tribe members managed to reoccupy the land, but they immediately became deprived of their freedom of movement, and were subject to numerous gun threats. They have been prevented from leaving their encampment, resulting in no access to water, food, education and health. The tribe’s children are falling sick due to the lack of medical assistance, water and the dry weather conditions.

Government’s agents are not providing care to the community, claiming this is due to lack of security. The tribe has denounced their situation to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, the National Indian Foundation (Fundação Nacional do Índio, FUNAI) and the state police authorities, but so far no action has been taken.

As follow-up to this, we are asking everyone to join our efforts in sending a letter to the Brazilian authorities to stop the violence against the Guarani Kaiowá Y’poí tribe.

Together we can make a difference!