MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Yanomami of Brazil - up against the miners

Published by MAC on 2006-01-11


Yanomami of Brazil - up against the miners

11th January 2006

Representatives from the Yanomami People demand the removal of miners from their lands

Source: Folha de Boa Vista

The representative from the Yanomami Peoples of Amazonas and Roraima state, Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, states that indigenous persons want the fulfillment of promises made by the federal government. "We do not want indigenous persons to die because of lack of funds to improve the offering of health services by those organizations that have agreements with the government. We want an immediate plan for the removal of miners, who are the biggest cause of malaria for indigenous persons", he highlighted.

According to him, the federal government has to maintain professionals in the area of health care for Indigenous Peoples. He recognized that there was drop in services offered by these organizations during Lula's government. He related these facts to the delay in passing funds to the organizations.

"Indigenous health is not very good. The diseases are augmenting in Amazonas state, due to the lack of support by the federal government", stated Kopenawa, while reporting that the principal motive for the conference is to demand the regularization of services.

During the closure of the conference, 24 delegates to participate in the National Conference on Indigenous Health will be chosen. Of these, 12 are indigenous representatives, six health professionals and six representatives from institutions that work in the indigenous area.


Prospectors and Yanomami are a recipe for problems

Thaís Brianezi
Reporter Agência Brasil
Translation: Allen Bennett

20th December 2005

Manaus - The presence of prospectors on Yanomami Indian lands is an old problem. Over the last two months, with an increase in the number of prospectors, it has been getting worse. According to the coordinator general of the NGO, Cooperation Service for the Yanomami People (Secoya), Silvio Cavuscens, speaking in a Radiobras interview, "Some of the prospectors are getting close to Indian villages and confronting the Yanomami. They bring disease and harm the environment. Government health agents have left the area because they are afraid of what may happen."

The Yanomami reserve area, in the states of Roraima and Amazonas, on the border with Venezuela, was officially established in 1992. Some 12,000 Indians live there. "In 1993, there were some 10,000 prospectors in the region and a serious conflict resulting in the deaths of 16 Yanomami occurred in a place called Haximu. The incident got international attention and the government cracked down on the prospectors and removed them (5 prospectors were sentenced for the deaths of the Indians at Haximu). Unfortunately, the prospectors have returned," explains Cavuscens.

Under Brazilian law, the state owns the land in indigenous reserve areas and the Indians have exclusive rights to use it. Thus, the problem is a federal problem and the Federal Police should remove the prospectors. There are reports that the police say they do not have the men to do the job.


Representantes del pueblo Yamomami exigen retiro de mineros

Folha de Boa Vista

El representante del pueblo Yamomami de los estados de Amazonas y Roraima, Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, exigió al gobierno federal de Brasil el cumplimiento de sus promesas. "Queremos un plan inmediato de retiro de los mineros, que son la principal causa de contagio de malaria entre los indígenas" aseguró Kopenawa.

Durante el cierre de la Conferencia Nacional de Salud Indígena, de la que participaron 24 delegados de pueblos indígenas, profesionales de la salud y de las instituciones del área, se exigió también que el gobierno cumpla con los envíos de fondos destinados a las instituciones de salud.

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