Brazil to Investigate Alleged “Genocide” of Indigenous Peoples

Yanomami Indigenous People In Brazil Suffer From Alleged Omission Of Ex-President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazil’s Ministry of Justice launched an investigation on January 25, 2023 in response to a complaint from the Yanomami indigenous people residing in the Amazonas and Roraima states on the border with Venezuela. They are reacting to an “omission” perpetrated by the now-far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro.

The Yanomami are the largest indegenous reserve in Brazil, with some 27,000 people. Facing a “lack of assistance” and “abandonment” by the previous government, the Yanomami claimed to experience severe illnesses, harassment by illegal miners, repeated requests for help ignored, and other issues in recent years.

On Saturday January 23, the progressive president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, visited Yanomami land and designated this a situation of “sanitary emergency” of “national importance”, subsequently deploying reinforcements from the Ministry of Health and other state organizations.

The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples reported that at least 570 Yanomami children have perished due to mercury contamination, malnutrition and hunger. As well, numerous cases of malaria and other diseases have been in play since the former president Jair Bolsonaro took action in January 2019, largely in part due to the policies that encouraged illegal mining in the Amazon.

According to Brazil’s Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino, if the supposed “omission” by the Government is confirmed, a crime of ‘genocide’ may have taken place. The investigation aims to determine of the ex-president is responsible in any sort of regard. Bolsonaro left Brazil two days before Lula da Silva’s inauguration and it is unclear when or if he plans to return.

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