Human Rights Commissioner Kofler on the threat to indigenous peoples in Brazil

03.07.2020 - Press release

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (3 July) on the violent attacks on indigenous peoples in Brazil:

Since President Bolsonaro’s assumption of office a year and a half ago, the indigenous peoples in Brazil have been at greater risk than ever. The murder of two members of the Yanomami tribe by illegal gold miners has reminded us once again of the vulnerability and precarious situation of the indigenous peoples of Brazil.

The Brazilian Government’s current environmental agenda puts the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals in jeopardy. It has created incentives that encourage the further destruction of the Amazon rainforest – to the detriment of the indigenous tribes in their traditional territories. This is something our planet cannot afford in the midst of a global biodiversity and climate crisis! I therefore call on the Brazilian Government to reverse all measures that encourage increased deforestation, endanger biodiversity and compromise the rule of law and human rights standards.

Here in Germany, too, we can make a decisive contribution towards ensuring effective protection for the human rights of indigenous peoples, especially their right to life, self-determination and cultural identity. It is therefore important that Germany ratify ILO Convention 169 of 1989 at long last.

Background information:

Germany has been committed to protecting indigenous peoples in Brazil for decades and was instrumental in getting their protected territories demarcated; this protection was de facto removed through possible legal regulations and Brazil’s indigenous peoples were robbed of their key life resources. Brazil’s indigenous lands are home to 83% of global biodiversity. Environmental conflicts and attacks on these territories have consequences for the whole of humanity. ILO Convention 169 points to the distinctive contributions of indigenous and tribal peoples to the cultural diversity and social and ecological harmony of humankind and to international co-operation and understanding.


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