FJA 2020 Shortlist

Category: Excellence in Environmental Journalism

Raphael Tsavkko Garcia (Belgium)

Brazil's Indigenous Communities Resist Bolsonaro


January 17, 2020

The original publication is available via the following link: 

The Amazon rainforest is under threat, and so are the indigenous tribes that call it home. As violence escalates in Brazil, activists have vowed to protect their land and way of life.

Rarely has something so precious fallen into such unsafe hands. Since Jair Bolsonaro took the Brazilian presidency in 2019, the Amazon, which makes up 10% of our planet's biodiversity and absorbs an estimated 5% of global carbon emissions, has been hit with a record number of fires and unprecedented deforestation.

At the same time, those who have proved the most responsible guardians of the forest, are under increasing pressure and threatened by escalating violence. Since Bolsonaro came to power, there has been an increase in invasions of indigenous lands by loggers and miners, and seven indigenous leaders have been killed in land disputes.

In November, a group of Brazilian lawyers and human rights groups asked the International Criminal Court to indict Bolsonaro for inciting genocide against Brazil's indigenous people.

They argue that these communities are at increased risk of violence because "the means of existence of the indigenous peoples are grounded on their relationships to the land, the forest, wildlife and water," and that threats to the forest put them "at risk of falling victim to crimes against humanity."


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