Prosecutors want Brazilian government to pay compensation for murders in the Amazon

compensation murders Amazon
Funai base in Atalaia do Norte, next to the entry of the Vale do Javari indigenous reserve. Photo: Lalo de Almeida/Folhapress

Federal public defenders and prosecutors on Sunday asked the Brazilian government to pay BRL 50 million (USD 9.4 million) in compensation for the murders of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira. They were killed in a remote area of the Amazon rainforest. The money would go to fund Indigenous protection initiatives.

The demand is part of an ongoing lawsuit filed in 2018 by several organizations asking the government to provide the necessary human and financial resources for environmental agencies to better protect the Amazon and its residents. Mr. Pereira was among the signatories of the proposal for such action submitted by the plaintiffs.

Renan Sotto Mayor, a public defender, claims that if the government had implemented the initiatives in the proposed plan, the killings of Indigenous people and environmental activists could likely have been prevented.

Under President Jair Bolsonaro, funding for environmental organizations has been cut to the bone. His administration is accused of having Indigenous communities to their own devices.

Unsurprisingly, the region is becoming more lawless and more violent by the day. The process of weakening Funai did not begin under Mr. Bolsonaro, but has intensified under his command.

Recent nationwide crime data reinforce the perception of lawlessness in parts of the rainforest. While the overall murder rate in Brazil decreased in 2021, murder rates spiked in the Amazon region, highlighting an ongoing trend of violence in Brazil’s North.