The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Regional Office for South America of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a note urging the Brazilian state to devise policies aimed at protecting the indigenous living in isolation.
The request comes after reports were filed on the murder of ten indigenous people living in these conditions in the Javari Valley, west Amazonas state, by a group of miners. Associations linked to the UN have expressed concern over the situation facing indigenous Brazilians and claim these groups are falling victim to a massacre.
Ten days ago, Brazilian authorities reported they are doing what they can to investigate the case. The Federal Police initiated an inquiry into the deaths, and prosecutors in Tabatinga, Amazonas, are said to be keeping a close watch on the probe.
In their statement concerning the case, both IACHR and OHCHR celebrate the decision to launch investigations and ask the government to announce “the outcome of the such investigations into the acts of violence and the alleged incursions diligently, and in an adequate and culturally appropriate manner,” and to identify the ones accountable and punish them “promptly and effectively.”
The UN agencies have registered further reports on situations that pose a threat to the indigenous people in the Javari Valley region, the area with the largest presence of uncontacted tribes in the world.
“According to information disclosed by the institutions, the massacre is reported to be among the many complaints made by the indigenous communities on incursions and the attacks against the indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation and going through initial contact, perpetrated by illegal prospectors, producers and wood cutters in the area,” the note reads.
Brazil's National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) told Agência Brasil that the investigations over the alleged murder of uncontacted tribe members in the Javari Valley are still in progress, adding that there is no estimated date for a conclusion. No further comment was made on the complaints mentioned by IACHR and OHCHR.
As Brazil is a signatory of a number of international treaties on the topic—like the American Convention of Human Rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—the country has agreed to ensure that uncontacted tribes can live according to their traditions.