Indigenous expert and Guardian contributor Dom Phillips missing in western Amazon

dom phillips Small boat on the Javari River, in the Amazon basin. Photo: Nowaczyk/Shutterstock
Small boat on the Javari River, in the Amazon basin. Photo: Nowaczyk/Shutterstock

After receiving threats for his work in defense of indigenous rights in the western Brazilian Amazon, indigenous expert Bruno Araújo Pereira has disappeared in the Vale do Javari reserve, alongside regular The Guardian contributor Dom Phillips.

The pair have not been seen for over 24 hours, having set off on a journey from the São Rafael riverside community to the city of Atalaia do Norte. The trip takes approximately two hours, and they were set to arrive in the city by 9 am on Sunday morning. News of their disappearance was confirmed by the Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Vale do Javari (Univaja).

Univaja sent out two search teams on Sunday afternoon to monitor the stretch of the Itaquaí River that the pair were meant to have traveled, but found no traces of their boat, or the two men.

The alarm was raised primarily due to Mr. Pereira’s deep knowledge of the region, making it less likely that the pair are merely lost. Mr. Pereira worked for several years as the Vale do Javari regional coordinator for Brazil’s indigenous foundation Funai — work which has made him a target for illegal gold miners, loggers, and land-grabbers in the area.

Dom Phillips has worked as a journalist in Brazil since 2007, currently based in Salvador. His work has been published by The Guardian, Financial Times, the New York Times, and several other publications. He visited the Vale do Javari indigenous reserve to research a book with the support of the Alicia Patterson Foundation.

The Federal Police, Army, and Federal Prosecution Office have been made aware of their disappearance.

This is a developing story.