Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Illegal Loggers Murder Amazon Forest Guardian

Popular
Illegal Loggers Murder Amazon Forest Guardian
Paulo Paulino Guajajara was 26 years old and was shot in the face. A partner with him was injured but escaped. euronews / YouTube screenshot

Illegal loggers shot and killed an indigenous defender of Brazil's Amazon rainforest, the Guajajara tribe announced Saturday, as Reuters reported.


Paulo Paulino Guajajara, in his 20s, was a member of the Guajajara group Guardians of the Forest, which was formed in 2012 to protect the Araribóia reservation in Brazil's Maranhão state. In an interview with Reuters in September, he said that his work had become more dangerous.

"I'm scared at times, but we have to lift up our heads and act. We are here fighting," he said.

Another guardian, Laércio Guajajara, was also shot and taken to the hospital, The Guardian reported. One of the loggers is also missing.

Sérgio Moro, justice minister for the administration of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, said that federal police would investigate the murder.

"We will spare no effort to bring those responsible for this serious crime to justice," he tweeted, as The Guardian reported.

But indigenous rights groups blamed the Bolsonaro government for the killing, since the president has promised to open indigenous reserves to extractive industries.

"The increase in violence in indigenous territories is a direct result of his hateful speeches and steps taken against our people," the Association of Brazil's Indigenous Peoples (APIB) said in a statement reported by Reuters.

A report from Brazil's Indigenous Missionary Council found that there were 160 land invasions of indigenous territories during the first nine months of Bolsonaro's presidency, two times the number from the year before, according to Amazon Watch.

"While it is the constitutional duty of the Brazilian government to protect indigenous territories and ensure the safety of their peoples, what we are witnessing today is genocidal violence abetted by the criminal Bolsonaro regime," Amazon Watch program director Christian Poirier said. "Bolsonaro has launched an open attack upon indigenous rights and lands, abandoning native peoples to defend their territories against invasions, illegal logging, mining, and land grabbing. This regime has indigenous blood on its hands."

The killing comes as seven indigenous leaders are touring Europe to raise awareness about human rights abuses under Bolsonaro as part of a campaign called "Indigenous Blood: Not A Single Drop More."

"It's time to say enough of this institutionalized genocide," Sônia Guajajara, APIB leader and one of the participants in the tour, said in a tweet reported by Reuters.

The Araribóia reserve stretches 1,595 square miles and is home to around 5,300 indigenous Brazilians, both from the Guajajara tribe and the entirely isolated Awá, according to The Guardian. It was a site of violence even before Bolsonaro took office, as loggers targeted the area that holds most of the rainforest left in Maranhão state. Roberto Cabral, a former enforcement operations coordinator with Brazil's environmental agency Ibama, was shot there in 2015.

Forest guardian leader Olímpio Guajajara released a video in June calling for help from the Brazilian government because gunmen were being paid to kill indigenous people and shooting at indigenous homes.

"We don't want war, we want to resist," he said, as The Guardian reported. "We want the Brazilian authorities to help protect the lives of the Guardians that are threatened."

Sarah Shenker, senior research and advocacy officer at Survival International, told The Guardian that Paulino's death was "a crime foretold."

Paulino is survived by one son, according to Reuters.

"We are protecting our land and the life on it, the animals, the birds, even the Awá who are here too," Paulino told Reuters in September. "There is so much destruction of Nature happening, good trees with wood as hard as steel being cut down and taken away. We have to preserve this life for our children's future."

A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.

Read More Show Less
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on Sept. 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington comforts Marsha Maus, 75, whose home was destroyed during California's deadly 2018 wildfires, on March 11, 2019 in Agoura Hills, California. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Governor Jay Inslee

Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.

In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.

Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch