Land invasions in Brazilian indigenous territories increased 137 percent last, a rights group reported.
Violence against indigenous peoples in Brazil increased by more than 60 percent last year, a rights group said, as land invasions into indigenous territories increased and the government provided no protection.
In its annual report, released Thursday, on violence against descendants of Brazil’s original inhabitants, the Indigenous Missionary Council of the Catholic Church (CIMI) said there were 182 killings of indigenous people in 2020, compared to 113 killings in 2019. , an increase of 61 percent. .
263 land invasions of indigenous territories were reported, CIMI said, an “alarming” increase of 137 percent over the previous year.
The report blamed the government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro for failing to protect indigenous communities, while pushing for legislation that would open up its reserves to commercial mining, oil and gas exploration and the construction of hydroelectric dams.
Last year, the Bolsonaro government saw “the deepening of an extremely worrying scenario in terms of indigenous rights, territories and lives,” the report says.
Indigenous land claims have also come to a standstill under the Bolsonaro administration, according to the report. Of 1,289 reservations in Brazil, 832 are awaiting official recognition.
The Brazilian president recently visited an indigenous territory and defended illegal mining that has a “huge impact on the environment and indigenous peoples,” César Muñoz, principal investigator for the Americas at Human Rights Watch, said on Twitter Thursday.
Bolsonaro has previously praised US Army Cavalry Colonel George Armstrong Custer for driving indigenous peoples off the plains of North America.
He has also criticized the reserves for occupying valuable land and has said that he will not grant another inch of land claimed by indigenous communities. He is backed by powerful agricultural interests, as part of a group of lawmakers known informally in Brazil as the “beef, bibles and bullets” bloc.
Critics have said Bolsonaro’s comments have emboldened illegal miners, squatters and loggers, whose invasions of reserve territories have exacerbated the spread of the coronavirus.
More than 800 indigenous people in Brazil have died from COVID-19, according to official figures that only count deaths in reservations and not among indigenous people in Brazilian cities.
Brazil has a population of 900,000 indigenous people, of whom a third have moved from reservations to urban areas.
The Brazilian president’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Reuters news agency.