Continuous Update on the Situation of the Karipuna people of Rondônia by Adriano Karipuna, Indigenous Leader
Adriano Karipuna, Indigenous leader
Update #2 January 2023
Adriano Karipuna, Indigenous Leader of the Karipuna people who inhabit Indigenous territory in the Brazilian Amazon, has been tirelessly calling attention to his homeland's rampant invasion and destruction. Land grabbing by extractive industries facilitated and encouraged by Bolsonaro's government has exposed these people's bodies, land and livelihood to unthinkable violence.
Since Lula da Silva's election, we've been expecting to hear good news about the situation of the Karipuna. But despite all the successes achieved with Lula's victory, Adriano's messages are still filled with alarm and revolt. As reported by the Indigenous Missionary Council, CIMI, an organization that, along with Greenpeace Brazil, has been monitoring and denouncing the cries for help of the region's Indigenous peoples,
according to the local Indigenous leaders, some progress has been made in the Karipuna's land, but not nearly enough to guarantee permanent and adequate protection on Indigenous Karipuna territory. (...)
In a recent article by Vinicius Valentin Raduan Miguel and Adriano Karipuna in Agência Bori, the authors explain the gravity and complexity of the situation:
Currently, both the Union and the State of Rondônia know about the vulnerability of the Karipuna People, just as they know the same is true about other Indigenous Peoples here in the Amazon.
Dozens of formal reports, communications by civil society organizations and even determinations by the Federal Public Ministry are proof of this.
There are Uncontacted Peoples that live isolated from the surrounding community. This fact has already been made clear to the FUNAI (National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples), the Federal Public Ministry and the Federal Police.
We are concerned about the constant replacement of public officers, the lack of commitment from the state agents who should foster public and collaborative planning, and the institutional incapacity shown by the public security apparatus, so far incapable of dismantling and holding accountable a tremendous scheme of invasion, land grabbing, deforestation and illegal exploitation of the Karipuna territories. These denouncements, which carry significant risks for the physical and psychological integrity of the Indigenous People, have also been made to international entities and the press.
It's critical to create an Ethno-development project for transfer of income, consolidation of water use and food security, especially with the current decline of the food supply resulting from the criminal intrusion in the region. Another issue that urges addressing is a comprehensive healthcare program.
Fulfilling the human rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the whole Amazon should be an immediate ethical and normative imperative. Opposition to genocide means immediate action and no more delays or useless speeches. This is an urgent duty.
Deforestation around the Karipuna Indigenous Territory (Image from Google Earth, October 20, 2022)
*According to PRODES, the satellite monitoring system of the Brazilian Amazon forest of the National Institute of Space Research (Inpe), the Indigenous Karipuna Territory was the ninth most deforested of the country between 2015 and 2021, a period in which 4.754 hectares were illegally devastated.
Update #1 December 2022
Read the first-hand account by the Indigenous leader of the Karipuna people, Adriano Karipuna, about his threatened Indigenous territory in Brazil.
A few months ago, Adriano Karipuna was a guest on our interview series "Connecting the Dots". Adriano is an Indigenous leader of the Karipuna people, whose Indigenous territory is within the Brazilian state of Rondônia.
After bouncing back from having their population nearly extinguished by the first contact with expeditions in the 1970s that brought illnesses for which they had no immunity, the reality of the situation on the ground today is dire.
Numerous reports extensively document how the policies of Jair Bolsonaro's government have compromised Indigenous rights and led to a culture of impunity regarding attacks on Indigenous Peoples and their territories.
This is what the Karipuna People have been experiencing: their territory increasingly invaded by illegal loggers and deforested at an alarming rate, set on fire, and grabbed with impunity.
Despite the hardships and the terror inflicted on these communities, their courage to stand up and defend their way of life, culture, and a territory that harbors a vital ecosystem for our planet is awe-inspiring.
Adriano wants the world to know and think about what's happening. He believes this situation can only be reversed by raising the pressure on the Brazilian government to fulfill its duty to protect Indigenous Peoples.
Adriano has been keeping in touch with us and is counting on our support to spread the word and talk about the situation on Karipuna land and his fight to protect it:
At the beginning of October, the Spanish channel RTVE aired a documentary on the legacy of Bolsonaro's government, with a special focus on the "tragedy" that unfolded in the Amazon over the last four years.
In it, Eric Karipuna, a Karipuna leader, spoke about the impact that Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira's killings have had on land defenders in the region:
"If this happened to him, to an official of the National Indian Foundation, it can happen to an Indigenous person. Personally, I fear more for my people, the Karipuna, because we're a small town."
by Eric Karipuna
He's also extremely clear about what happens when the government refuses to condemn and prosecute the invaders:
"Today people invade the land, with the guarantee that they will be able to claim that land afterwards"
by Eric Karipuna
(Watch the segment with Eric Karipuna from 2:47 - English subtitles available)
Numerous official surveys have documented the extent of the invasion of the Karipuna Indigenous Territory, clearly making it one of the ten most deforested Indigenous Territories in Brazil.
Shockingly, despite all the evidence, FUNAI (the National Indian Foundation) and the State of Rondonia remain indifferent. In a glimmer of hope, the Federal Public Ministry has ruled that these entities must immediately present their concrete plans to protect Karipuna territory and assume legal responsibilities, a resolution that stresses how their inaction is threatening the very existence of the Karipuna People. True and meaningful action must follow.
And Adriano told us that this decision might already be impacting the region. In an action led by the Ministry of the Environment (Ibama) and the Federal Police, a bridge that was used by illegal loggers and as a route to introduce cattle into the territory has been destroyed.
We hope this action will guarantee more protection for the Karipuna.
Adriano was in Europe this month as the protagonist of COSPE's AMAzzonia campaign during the 16th edition of the Milan Biodiversity Festival. Furthering his international activism, he visited Italy "to meet civil society, especially young people, and talk about the situation of the Indigenous Amazonian peoples who are suffering genocide, also perpetrated with the destruction of the forest."
"There 300.000 cattle heads surrounding the Territory at the moment."
Greenpeace Brazil posted a video of Indigenous leader André Karipuna denouncing the illegal and destructive invasion of Karipuna land. The video was filmed while André and members of his community were on their way to Brasília to visit several embassies, including the EU's, to ask for support to pressure the Brazilian government to protect their territory.
Adriano's own words are the most fitting to finish this update. Here's a translation of his statement to Survival International:
"Everyday, invaders are destroying and burning the Karipuna's forest, and threatening isolated Peoples that live in our Territory. I hope all of you can help us - now! It must come immediately, not later. Help must come now. The biggest threat to the Karipuna and to isolated Peoples is being killed by the invaders. The invasions have been increasing. And we, along with the isolated Peoples, have no protection whatsoever. We need help to ensure that the Brazilian government fulfils its role of protecting our Territory. Of guaranteeing our physical safety, our territorial safety. Both our physical integrity and the physical integrity of our forest. They have been saying that they will take our land because "Indigenous Peoples don't need land." Some people say that "there's too much land for Indigenous Peoples", that "Indigenous Peoples are not developed." But for us, development means keeping the forest standing. You don't protect the environment by destroying the forest, the rivers and biodiversity. Biodiversity means life. And there's life in our forest: Indigenous Peoples, the animals, the trees, the fish. Indigenous Peoples are our only hope for a better world."
by Adriano Karipuna
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