Brazil’s indigenous Paiter Surui people are desperate for help: armed illegal loggers, gold and diamond miners are invading their ancestral land, felling trees, poisoning rivers and threatening the forest dwellers at gunpoint. Tell the Brazilian government to stop this unfolding environmental and humanitarian disaster NOW.
The Paiter Surui live in a 250,000-hectare territory in the Amazon rainforest. The following is an abridged translation of the indigenous people’s original Portuguese letter to the global community:
Rondônia, Brazil, October 13, 2016
“I am Almir Narayamoga Surui, Chief of the Paiter Surui indigenous people. Our population lives in the state of Rondônia, Brazil.
This is my cry of alarm, please listen to me!”
Since the beginning of 2016, we have been suffering an invasion by illegal loggers and miners of diamonds and gold. Every day, over 300 trucks leave our territory filled with wood. Yet according to the constitution of Brazil, it is illegal to deforest an indigenous reservation.
The illegal loggers use heavy machinery such as bulldozers. We have found mercury and cyanide used by the miners in three rivers of the Surui territory.
In addition to environmental damage and the challenge to our way of life, this invasion directly endangers our families and our children. Either one cooperates, or they put a gun to our heads!
Despite our appeals for help against this mafia, the new government has not responded. In its silence, it has become a tacit accomplice to this destruction of the forest and the endangering of our people!
We do not know what to do. Help!
- We ask you to write to the Brazilian embassies in your own countries to express your outrage.
- We also ask you to boycott all Brazilian products.
- We ask the different political bodies to establish an international observer mission on deforestation.
Finally, on behalf of the Surui people and all indigenous people who are trying to protect the Amazon rainforest, we ask you to distribute this letter to all your contacts in the world and on social networks, because today we are all connected in a common destiny.