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  • Archive for September, 2014

    Illegal logging in Peru behind murder of activist


    2014 - 09.17

    Illegal loggers are being blamed for the murder of four Asheninka natives including a leading anti-logging campaigner near the Peruvian border with Brazil.

    Edwin Chota was the leader of the Alto Tamaya-Saweto community living in Peru’s Amazon Ucayali region. He fought relentlessly for his people’s right to gain titles to their land and expel illegal loggers who raided their forests on the Brazilian border.

    Chota featured in reports by National Geographic and the New York Times, and explained that he and his community had received death threats.

    Julia Urrunaga, Peru director for the Environmental Investigation Agency, an international conservation group, expressed sadness over the incident. She said: “This is a terribly sad outcome. And the saddest part is that it was a foreseen event.”

    The murders took place on 1 September, but reports were slow to surface due to the remoteness of the community. While authorities have yet to confirm the circumstances surrounding the deaths, sources say the men were rounded up and shot on the village’s sports field in front of inhabitants.

    As illegal loggers venture deeper into the rainforest, they encounter more villages. A recent report by Global Witness stated that an astonishing 900 people were killed between 2002 and 2013 in attempting to protect their land.

    Companies such as Greenwood Management are developing sustainable alternatives for wood sources in order to help preserve the rainforest and assist communities in their efforts to live a natural existence without interference.

    ‘Dalai Lama of Brazil’s Rainforest’ facing death threats


    2014 - 09.04

    The leader of the Yanomami people in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, Davi Kopenawa, has received death threats as a result of his work to prevent encroachment on indigenous land.

    Mr Kopenawa, 60, is known all over the world for his battle against the landowners, illegal miners and deforesters that try to encroach on indigenous lands. He is called the ‘Dalai Lama of the Rainforest’ and is often called upon to represent Brazil at United Nations meetings and other key events. He has also been awarded prizes including the Global 500 Prize from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

    Armindo Góes, one of Kopenawa’s fellow indigenous activists, told IPS: “In May, they [miners] told me that he wouldn’t make it to the end of the year alive.”

    Marcos Wesley, assistant coordinator of the Rio Negro sustainable development programme of the Socioenvironmental Institute (ISA), told the publication: “Davi is someone very precious to Brazil, but some people see him as an enemy. He is a thinker and a warrior who forms part of Brazil’s identity and has fought for the rights of the Yanomami and other indigenous people for over 40 years.”

    Mr Kopenawa is president of the Hutukara Yanomami Association (HAY), which he founded in 2004. Prior to that, he worked on the creation of the Yanomami Indigenous Territory (TI), in the states of Amazonas and Roraima, on the border with Venezuela.

    Currently, illegal miners are moving deeper into Yanomami territory across both Brazil and Venezuela, encroaching on one of the world’s oldest surviving cultures.

    Mr Góes said: “There are threatening signs that put us on the alert. We are working behind locked doors. Two armed men were already searching for Davi in Boa Vista. They even offered money if someone would identify him. We are getting more and more concerned.”

    Companies such as Greenwood Management are recognising the importance of preserving the rainforest and assisting people like Davi Kopenawa to continue their natural existence without intrusion by developing sustainable alternatives for wood sources.