Protect Brazil’s Indigenous Communities from Covid-19

Target: Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil

Goal: Protect indigenous groups from exposure to Covid-19 by preventing illegal gold miners from entering native territory.

A teenager from the Brazilian indigenous group, the Yanomami, died last week from Covid-19. The 15-year old Alvanei Xirixana was from Rehebe, a village along the Uraricoera River which wildcat gold miners use to illegally access the mineral-rich area.

Though it is not determined how he was infected, Yanomami leaders suspect that the wildcat gold miners are responsible. Up to 20,000 illegal prospectors, called garimpeiros, are believed to be working on indigenous lands inhabited by the Yanomami. The death of Xirixana has brought great dread to indigenous tribes across South America who fear that Covid-19 will decimate their populations, just as other past epidemics brought in by outsiders have.

Sofia Mendonca, a Brazilian public health physician, said “If we don’t get these people out of indigenous areas the chance of contagion is much greater.” Sign below to demand president Jair Bolsonaro take action to stop illegal gold miners from entering indigenous territory in order to safeguard their populations from Covid-19.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Bolsonaro,

Covid-19 killed a teenage member of the Yanomami indigenous group. Though not entirely clear, it is likely that the virus was brought in by the wildcat illegal gold miners, who should not be in their territory in the first place.

The Yanomami, along with many other South American indigenous groups, fear that Covid-19 will decimate their fragile populations. I demand that you take action to stop illegal gold miners from entering indigenous territory in order to protect the Yanomami from exposure to Covid-19.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: 350.org


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