Target: Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil
Goal: Remove illegal logging camps in order to protect an indigenous tribe
Known by some as the world’s most threatened tribe, the Awá people of Brazil have faced endless intrusion by illegal loggers, including violence and murder. In fact, deforestation, declines in animal populations, and violent land disputes have reduced their population to 450 people. In an effort to protect this indigenous tribe, the Brazilian national army has deployed tanks, helicopters, and hundreds of soldiers in the Amazon “as part of a major ground operation to combat illegal logging.”
Brazil intends to evict illegal loggers working on the fringes of an indigenous reserve home to the Awá people. According to Survival International, a United Kingdom-based tribal rights group, eight sawmills in the region have been closed. The current campaign comes after “50,000 people called on Brazil’s Minister of Justice to take action.” Furthermore, in 2012, a Brazilian judge ordered all outsiders to leave the Awá territory by March 2013.
The Awá tribe’s past is a violent one. In the 1960s, a railway was built near their territory for mining purposes. The mine and railway brought settlers to the land, which “devastated the indigenous people through disease and conflict.” Although an indigenous reserve was established in 2003, the Awá have continued to struggle against the operations of illegal loggers.
According to Survival International, a member of the Awá tribe stated,”We don’t want our forest to disappear. The loggers have already destroyed many areas.” Many of the Awá people choose to live in isolation. Their decision must be respected; they should not have to live in fear. By signing this petition, you are commending the removal of illegal logging camps by the Brazilian military.
Dear President Rousseff,
The Awá people of Brazil have faced endless intrusion by illegal loggers, including violence and murder. In fact, their population has declined to only 450 people. In an effort to protect this indigenous tribe, your nation’s army has deployed tanks, helicopters, and hundreds of soldiers in the Amazon as part of a major ground operation to combat illegal logging.
It is encouraging that your government has heeded the arguments from both domestic and foreign indigenous rights groups. In 2012, you established two new nature reserves and seven tribal territories in the Amazon, covering thousands of square miles. Furthermore, the current military campaign comes after 50,000 people called on government officials to take action. It is clear that your government has made protecting the Awá people a priority.
Although some argue that the army must also enter the indigenous reserve itself and evict all loggers and ranchers from the park, your current course of action brings hope to this dire situation. Some have said that Brazil has taken a promising first step towards saving the world’s most threatened tribe. I commend the removal of illegal logging camps by your military.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ministério da Defesa via Wikimedia Commons